Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian and Desmond Mueller, vice chief of Australian Defense Force, met Wednesday in Beijing for the fifth defense and strategic talks between the two countries.
Chi, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, warmly welcomed Mueller and had high praise for the mechanism used to facilitate Sino-Australian strategic talks.
The mechanism, which was formed in 1997, has become an important channel for the military leaders of the both sides to exchange views on issues concerning national security and bilateral ties. It has also been instrumental in promoting the mutual understanding and development of ties between the two countries and the two armed forces, Chi added.
On bilateral relations, Chi said that China and Australia are both influential in the Asia-Pacific region, and that maintaining friendly cooperation between the two countries is good for the two peoples and also beneficial to the peace, stability and development of the region and the world.
Chi said he is satisfied with the smooth development of Sino- Australian ties in recent years, and hopes to work alongside Australia to move forward the friendly relations in the new century.
Talking about the APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings held in Shanghai, Chi said Chinese President Jiang Zemin held friendly talks with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and found common ground in many fields, which will invigorate the Sino-Australian friendship.
Chi also briefed the guests on China's domestic situation and regional and international situations, and explained China's stand on the Taiwan Question. He said he was grateful for the Australian government's support on the one-China Policy.
Mueller said that this is his second visit to China since 1982, and he was deeply impressed by the great changes in Beijing. He said he believes China will host successful Olympic Games in 2008.
Mueller said it is of vital importance for Australia and China to conduct friendly cooperation, and the defense and strategic talks are sure to help the two sides cooperate further.
Mueller said that the Australian government will continue to adhere to the One China Policy and support China's reunification.
(Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2001)