REYKJAVIK, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson agreed here Friday that the two sides will accelerate their free trade negotiations.
In his meeting with Grimsson, Wen suggested that China and Iceland speed up the negotiating process, which was officially launched in 2007, and strive together to bring forth the first free trade zone between China and a European nation next year.
"I have come here not only along with Chinese people's friendship with the Icelandic people, but also sincere aspiration to advance bilateral cooperation," said Wen.
The 41-year-old China-Iceland diplomatic relationship has proved that countries with different social systems and cultural backgrounds can foster friendly relations on the basis of mutual respect and equality, he added.
Meanwhile, Wen also conveyed China's readiness to further cooperation with Iceland in such areas as investment, clean energy, science and technology, education and Arctic affairs.
By doing so, the Chinese premier said, the two countries will jointly tackle challenges, share development opportunities and bring more benefits to their peoples.
Hailing Wen's visit as a new milestone in bilateral ties with historic significance, Grimsson also expressed the hope for an early signing of a bilateral free trade deal.
Noting that Iceland-China cooperation has kept expanding and enjoys a promising prospect, the president called for broader collaboration in economy and trade, geothermal energy, energy conservation, environmental protection, education, scientific research and tourism.
Moreover, Grimsson also suggested that the two countries further cement communication and coordination on Arctic affairs, as they push forward the development of bilateral ties.
Wen arrived here on Friday for the first official visit by a Chinese premier to the island nation in 41 years. Later in the ongoing Europe tour, he will also visit Sweden, Poland and Germany.