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Chinese Prime Minister Visits Wall Street - 2003-12-08


Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is on Wall Street Monday, where he rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. The Chinese leader smiled and gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up signal after pushing the bell that opened trading for the day.

Mr. Wen is on the second day of a four-day visit to the United States that will include a meeting with U.S. President George Bush at the White House on Tuesday. Monday, he is scheduled to have meetings with business leaders and dinner with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

HIs talks with U.S. officials are expected to focus on Taiwan, North Korea and bilateral trade.

After arriving in New York on Sunday, he met with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In remarks to reporters, the U.N. chief urged China and Taiwan to resolve their differences peacefully, while Mr. Wen warned Taiwan that Beijing will not allow the island to use democracy as a cover for separatism.

China has denounced Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum in which voters will be asked to support demands to remove Chinese missiles aimed at the island. China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and sees the proposed March vote as part of a Taiwanese independence movement.

The Chinese prime minister is making his first visit to the United States since taking office.

Mr. Wen is expected to ask President Bush to show that the United States opposes Taiwanese independence. The two leaders also are expected to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program and China's $100 billion trade surplus with the United States.

Mr. Wen will be in the United States until December 10. He then travels to Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia.

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