Students of the Central Party School listened closely to the speech given by Australian Prime Minister John Howard yesterday -- the first Western leader in recent years to address the top cadre college of the Communist Party of China.
Howard, on a state visit to China, spoke about Australia and China's growing partnership, offering to contribute to the expansion of China's manufacturing and industrial base.
"Howard's speech was friendly and frank but cannot quench our thirst for more opinions from top leaders on China's development strategies," said Long Chaoyun, a student of the school, who is also deputy governor of Guizhou Province in Southwest China.
Long said her classmates were very glad to see the Central Party School has begun to invite increasing numbers of foreign leaders and scholars to give addresses.
"We have seen significant reform and increased openness in our school," Long said.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
China has become Australia's third largest export market and Australia is China's eighth largest while bilateral trade volume has increased rapidly with a growth of US$1.7 billion a year on average.
On Tuesday, Howard attended a launch ceremony for a four-country partnership exploiting new energy-efficient iron smelting technology.
The four partners are Beijing Capital Steel Corporation of China, Rio Tinto (Iron Ore) of Australia, Mitsubishi of Japan, and Nucor of the United States.
Howard said the project illustrated the strategic partnership of Australia and China, and expressed his hope that the two countries will widen trade and economic cooperation.
"We stand ready, indeed enthusiastic, to expand the trade between us and I am hopeful that new ways can be found to negotiate closer economic cooperation," said Howard in yesterday's speech.
Premier Zhu Rongji held talks with Howard yesterday in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
During the talks Zhu and Howard agreed to hold consultations on a proposal for signing a framework agreement to promote Sino-Australian economic and trade relations.
They both agreed that the proposed framework agreement should aim to further strengthen bilateral trade and cooperation and could be a master plan showing the direction to be followed by both parties as well as containing key points in trade and economic cooperation for the future.
(China Daily May 23, 2002)