OTTAWA, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Li Changchun, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said here Wednesday that China-Canada relations have been constantly advanced over the past more than four decades, bringing tangible benefits to the two countries and the world as well.
Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, arrived in Ottawa earlier in the day for an official goodwill visit.
Li said in a written speech issued upon his arrival that China and Canada have enjoyed long-standing friendship, and Norman Bethune, a Canadian doctor, is a household name in China due to his endeavor and sacrifice in saving the lives of Chinese soldiers in the 1930s during China's war of resistance against Japanese aggression.
Thanks to the joint efforts by both sides, the China-Canada relations have moved forward continuously since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1970, Li said.
The two sides have greatly increased high-level mutual visits, achieved substantial results in cooperation in areas of culture, economy, trade, science and technology, and maintained good communication and coordination on major international and regional affairs since 2005, when they agreed to lift their relations to the level of strategic partnership, he added.
"The advancement of China-Canada relations has not only brought tangible benefits to our two peoples, but given a strong impetus to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large," Li noted, saying there is a huge potential for the two countries to deepen cooperation.
"The world today is undergoing complex and profound changes. For China and Canada, the development of one will bring important opportunities to the other," Li said. "With the increase of common interests, there emerges an immense potential for cooperation in all areas."
During the visit, which will run through Saturday, Li was scheduled to meet Canadian leaders such as Governor-General David Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird. He would also attend the opening ceremony of a Canadian Confucius school.
Canada is the second leg of Li's four-country tour, which has taken him to Britain and will also take him to Colombia and Indonesia.
He flew to the "Country of Maple Leaf" after concluding a four-day visit to Britain, during which he met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and some high-ranking officials, and attended a ceremony marking China as the "Country of Honor" at this year's London Book Fair.
Before leaving for Canada, Li met with British Prince Andrew earlier Wednesday at the Buckingham Palace. Both sides agreed that cultural exchange between the two countries should be enhanced to boost overall bilateral ties.
With his daughter also present at the meeting, Prince Andrew said the move was meant to show his sincere hope that British-Sino friendship can be passed from generation to generation.
Li said there should be a bright future for Sino-British relations if the two peoples, especially the youth, can be friends.
The CPC official stressed that China and Britain should seize the current opportunity to improve mutual trust and deepen practical cooperation.
Li also attended the 5th anniversary celebration of a Confucius school in London, where British people can learn both the Chinese language and traditional Chinese medicine.
"The essence of state-to-state relations lies in the mutual understanding between the peoples and cultural exchange is an important way to build up friendship between the two peoples," Li told students and school staff, adding more efforts should be made in this regard.