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Hu: Ties Maintain Sound Development Momentum
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Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao said Tuesday that China-Australia relations have maintained a sound momentum of development in recent years.

Political mutual trust has been enhanced and mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and economy and other areas has been fruitful, Hu said during a meeting with Australian Governor-General Michael Jeffery.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

"China-Australia relations have set a good example for countries with different social systems to live together in amity and embark on mutually beneficial cooperation," he said.

The cause of promoting bilateral ties enjoys a solid political foundation, deep popular support and huge potentials, the president said.

The frequent exchanges of highest-level visits have provided a strong impetus for the development of Australia-China relations. The two countries are enjoying rapidly growing bilateral trade, ever closer energy cooperation and increased education cooperation, Jeffery said.

Both countries advocate maintaining world peace and oppose war, and have kept close communication and coordination in international affairs, he said.

He also hoped the two sides would strengthen research and cooperation in agriculture and clean energy.

Before his arrival in Canberra, Hu visited Perth, capital of Western Australia.

During his stay in Australia's resource-rich state, the Chinese president heard presentations by executives of renowned Australian enterprises and research institutes, watched a three-dimensional show of geological modeling on mining and exploration, and visited two laboratories. All the institutions have long-term cooperation with relevant Chinese agencies and enterprises.

At a facility of HIsmelt, a joint venture with investment from Australia, the United States, Japan and China, Hu viewed smelting operations.

In recent years, cooperation between the two countries has been expanding steadily, particularly in mining, infrastructure, energy and environmental protection.

China is now the second largest trading partner of Australia, while Australia is China's ninth. In 2006, bilateral trade amounted to US$32.9 billion, up 20 percent from the previous year.

In the first half of 2007, bilateral trade reached 19.5 billion dollars, a 35 percent increase over the corresponding period of 2006.

After his state visit to Australia, Hu will attend the economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney on Sept. 8-9.

PetroChina inks LNG supply deal 
China's top oil and gas producer has struck a deal with Europe's largest oil company to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia, to meet the country's soaring demand for clean fuel. Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao attended the signing ceremony.

PetroChina International Co Ltd, a branch of PetroChina, and Shell Eastern LNG signed a long-term supply agreement for LNG from the Gorgon project in Western Australia, Shell said on its website yesterday.

Shell and PetroChina will draw up a detailed LNG sale and purchase agreement by the end of next year, according to Shell's statement.

"Details such as price of delivery are still to be agreed, but the deal will certainly boost China's clean energy supply," said Han Xiaoping, an independent analyst with energy portal China5e.com.

Han said the deal could also give PetroChina scope to get involved in upstream gas exploration and production on the Gorgon project.

"PetroChina could use its established natural gas distribution networks in China to great effect if it can get involved in upstream production at Gorgon," said Han.

Shell's Beijing office was not available for comment yesterday.

However, Jon Chadwick, executive vice-president of Shell Gas and Power Asia, said the deal "sets a new benchmark for LNG supplies into China and underlines Shell's commitment to Chinese LNG customers and to the Gorgon project".

Shell will sell 1 million tons per annum of LNG to PetroChina during the 20-year contract, Shell said.

The Shell-PetroChina agreement is conditional upon a final investment decision from the Gorgon joint venture partners.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily September 5, 2007)

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