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China, Australia Agree on All-round Cooperation
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China and Australia have agreed to build a relationship of all-round cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win outcomes in the 21st century, Premier Wen Jiabao said in Canberra Monday.


"This means that China and Australia should have consultation and dialogue on political, economic and cultural issues, as well as other major international issues," Premier Wen said at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard.


Wen, who held talks with Howard prior to the press conference, described the common understanding reached between them after an in-depth exchange of views in the talks as "very important."


Speaking of the specific countenance of this relationship, Wen said there are four major aspects.


First, China and Australia should enhance the mutual visits and discussions between the leaders of the two governments, according to the Chinese leader.


Second, China and Australia should work together to enhance economic cooperation on all fields. At present, what is more important for the two countries is to expedite the negotiation process for the establishment of a free trade area between the two sides.


Third, Wen said, China and Australia shall work together to enhance their cooperation in science, technology, culture, sports, tourism and other fields.


Fourth, China and Australia should work together to enhance their consultation and coordination on major issues on the bilateral level.


Wen stressed that China's foreign policy is open. "China does not draw a line on the basis of ideology and China does not enter into alliance with any other country or any other group of countries," he said.


China is ready and willing to live in peace with all other nations on this planet, Wen added.


Prime Minister Howard said his talks with Wen covered the whole gamut of the economic and political relationship between Australia and China.


"Of all of the relationships that Australia has, major relationships Australia has with other countries, none has been more completely transformed than the relationship with China over the last ten years," he said, describing the transformation of the relationship with China as "remarkable."


Wen said that bilateral cooperation between China and Australia on nuclear energy is solely for peaceful purposes with safeguards provided by related agreement signed by the two sides.


"China and Australia are conducting nuclear cooperation and this is solely for the peaceful purposes," Wen said.


As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he said, China will surely observe the provisions and regulations laid out by the IAEA and in the NPT.


"China is a responsible country in the international community," the premier said.


He said while China and Australia signed an agreement on nuclear cooperation earlier Monday, they also put in place a mechanism for safeguards.


"We believe that this safeguards mechanism will ensure that the nuclear cooperation will not be used for non-peaceful purposes," Wen said.


Howard, for his part, also expressed satisfaction that the safeguards that are there will be enforced.


He said it's on that basis that Australia and China have entered agreements on cooperation in nuclear energy.


Responding to a question about China-Australia cooperation on mineral resources, Wen said the two sides must proceed with their cooperation in this field on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit and equality.


"The mineral trade constitutes an important part of economic and trade relations between China and Australia," he said, noting that bilateral trade in mineral resources should be conducted and approached from a long-term perspective.


Wen is here on an official visit to Australia at the invitation of Prime Minister Howard. prior to the press conference, the two leaders held talks and witnessed the inking of a series of inter-governmental agreements and documents, including the agreement for bilateral cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2006)

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