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Australia Understands China's Efforts on Military Modernization
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Visiting Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson said on Monday that his country supports China's efforts to modernize its armed forces which are "understandable" and "reasonable."


Australia is very supportive of Chinese economic development and China's efforts to modernize the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and happy to see China joining more multilateral dialogue mechanisms, said Nelson when meeting with Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC).


Nelson proposed expanding exchanges and visits between Australian and Chinese military officers from "not only high levels" but also "lower levels."


A defense policy paper launched by Australian Prime Minister John Howard on July 5 said China's military modernization, particularly the development of new and disruptive capabilities such as the anti-satellite missile, could create misunderstandings and instability in the region.


"A sound, healthy military relationship between China and Australia is one that fulfills the demands and interests of both countries and peoples, and guarantees peace and stability in the whole Asia-Pacific area," Xu told Nelson during the meeting.


"We are happy to see that Chinese and Australian military officers are committed to deepening mutual trust and cooperation," Xu said.


China is willing to work with Australia to enhance professional exchanges and carry forward "concrete cooperation" especially in non-traditional security areas, Xu said.


Nelson is in Beijing on his first visit to China since he assumed the post of Defense Minister in January 2006. Prior to the meeting with Xu, Nelson also held talks with Cao Gangchuan, the CMC vice chairman and State Councilor, and met with top legislator Wu Bangguo, on Monday.


Wu noted that China views bilateral relations from a strategic perspective and hopes the two sides lift ties to a higher level on the 35th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations.


Noting the growth of bilateral relations in recent years, he also expressed his appreciation over Australia's adherence to the one-China policy.


(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2007)

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