April 11th, 2008 03:38 EST
China, Australia pledge further cooperation, expanded ties
Premier Wen Jiabao met with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd in Beijing on Thursday, calling for greater cooperation and taking bilateral ties to a new high.
During the meeting, Wen said that China-Australia relations had developed rapidly in recent years, with frequent high-level exchanges and comprehensive dialogues at all levels.
Tremendous achievements have been made in trade and economic cooperation, with China becoming the largest trade partner to Australia, said Wen.
The two have also maintained cooperation regarding major international and regional affairs, he added. The growth of bilateral ties had greatly benefited both sides and promoted peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region.
Wen said China attached importance to the development of China-Australia relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and was ready to take bilateral ties to a new level on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Rudd, for his part, said that exchanges and cooperation kept expanding with momentum in trade, energy, resources and investment. Australia understood and supported China`s development, which was conducive to Australia and the world at large, he said.
Expressing optimism about the future of relations between Australia and China, Rudd said from a strategic perspective he hoped that his country would be a long-standing partner in China`s development.
Wen also explained the Chinese government`s principles and stand on the Taiwan issue and introduced the facts about economic development, human rights promotion and cultural protection in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Rudd said that he understood and reiterated that the Australian government has always adhered to the one-China policy. Australia opposed a boycott of the Olympics and wished the sporting event success, Rudd said.
To develop bilateral relations, Wen proposed that both countries step up high-level exchanges, make full use of strategic dialogues and other consultation mechanisms, advance free trade agreement talks, develop win-win, long-term and stable cooperation in energy and resources and set up a roundtable mechanism at the ministerial level for business services, carry out closer cooperation in coping with climate change.
Wen also said that the two countries should enhance their exchanges in culture, education, science and technology, promote non-governmental exchanges especially contact among youth, strengthen coordination in the United Nations and regional Asia-Pacific organizations, and promote communication on major international and regional issues.
Rudd said that Australia was willing to be a lasting and reliable partner to China in the spheres of energy, resources and manufacturing.
To improve the level of trade and economic cooperation, Australia was ready to speed up negotiations for the free trade agreement, he said.
Rudd voiced his hopes of expanding cooperation in telecommunications, finance with China, maintaining consultations and developing technological cooperation on climate change.
The two issued a joint statement on closer cooperation on climate change, vowing to enhance their collaboration to promote policy dialogue, expand the Australia-China Climate Change Partnership and develop clean energy.
Rudd is on a four-day official visit to China as Wen`s guest. He will also meet with President Hu Jintao in Hainan Province on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia on April 12.