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President Pledges to Promote Cooperation with Australia

President Hu Jintao said in Canberra Friday that China is committed to strengthening and developing all-around cooperation with Australia to serve the interests of both peoples.

President Hu made these remarks during his visit to Australia after attending the 11th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok earlier this week.

While addressing the Federal Parliament of Australia, Hu first reviewed the steady development of the relations between the two countries over the past three decades.

"The bilateral ties have stood the tests of time and international vicissitudes, and made steady headway," he said. "We have always viewed our friendly ties with Australia from a strategic and long-term perspective."

The president stressed that both governments and peoples wish to cultivate deeper and broader cooperation and this is also an important policy of the Chinese government.

"To consolidate and develop its all-around cooperation with Australia is a key component of China's external relations," Hu said.

He said he will have an in-depth discussion with Australian Prime Minister John Winston Howard on topics ranging from bilateral ties to regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Since China and Australia established diplomatic relations in 1972, exchanges between them have been thriving.

In the economic field alone, Australia had invested, by June 2003, in 5,600 projects in China, with a paid-in investment of more than US$3.1 billion while China had made investments in 218 projects in Australia with a contractual value of US$450 million.

In recent years, China-Australia trade grew rapidly from US$87 million in the early years of diplomatic relations to US$10.4 billion in 2002.

All this proves that China-Australia cooperation is going "deeper and broader," Hu said, adding that the forthcoming conclusion of a series of bilateral documents on cooperation will also help push it forward.

"I am convinced that China and Australia will shape a relationship of all-around cooperation that features a high degree of mutual trust, long-term friendship and mutual benefit, a relationship that makes our two peoples both winners," Hu said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2003)

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