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Vice President Xi Jinping Arrives in Turkish Capital for Official Visit

On the evening of February 20 local time, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrived in Ankara for an official visit to Turkey at the invitation of Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

At about 7:20 p.m., Xi's charter flight landed at the Ankara Esenboga Airport. Chinese Ambassador to Turkey Gong Xiaosheng and senior Turkish officials boarded the flight to welcome Xi.

Xi stepped off the flight and shook hands and exchanged greetings with Turkish Minister of Economy Zafer Caglayan and senior officials from the province and city of Ankara who were waiting in front of the ladder. A young woman from the Chinese embassy in Turkey presented flowers to Xi.

"The main purpose of my visit is to deepen mutual understanding and the friendship between our two peoples, and boost the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Turkey in a variety of fields so as to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples," Xi said in a written speech upon his arrival at the airport.

Xi said China and Turkey are located on the eastern and western end of Asia respectively. "Turkey, like China, has a long history and colorful cultures. Friendly exchanges between China and Turkey date back to ancient times," Xi said. "We are pleased to see the continuous development in bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and other fields since China and Turkey established diplomatic relations in 1971," the Chinese leader noted. "As two important developing nations, China and Turkey share extensive common interests in safeguarding world peace, promoting common development and meeting global challenges," Xi said, adding that China is willing to strengthen its ties with Turkey in a bid to further push forward their strategic partnership. The Chinese side is willing to strengthen cooperation with Turkey and promote in-depth development of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations.

Xi said he is looking forward to meeting separately with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek and other Turkish leaders to exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern.

Turkey is the last leg of Xi's three-nation tour, which has already taken him to the United States and Ireland.

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