Chinese & Finnish Presidents Discuss Korea

Tension on the Korean peninsula was among the topics discussed by the Finnish and Chinese presidents in Beijing on Saturday.

The Finnish head of state, Tarja Halonen, met with her counterpart Hu Jintao near the end of her week-long visit to China.

The two discussed bilateral ties between the countries and ways to expand cooperation in various sectors of the economy.

Climate change and the repercussions of the economic crisis were among the international issues on the agenda.

Halonen also raised the issue of tensions between the Koreas following the sinking of a South Korean naval ship. She said that Finland condemns all use of force and hopes that further escalation of the crisis can be avoided. Hu responded by explaining China’s view of the relations between Pyongyang and Seoul.

China is the North’s sole major ally and economic lifeline but unlike many countries has not publicly blamed Pyongyang for the sinking at the Koreas’ disputed sea border.

Before leaving China on Sunday, Halonen was also scheduled to take participate in a celebration marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries and a business seminar introducing ‘cleantech’ developments from Finnish companies. Accompanying her are Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen and Environment Minister Paula Lehtomäki.

From China she is to fly to Qatar to attend the Doha Forum, an annual conference hosted by Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The president is scheduled to return to Finland on Thursday.

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