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Former Australian PM Praises Trade and Education Cooperation
A visiting former prime minister of Australia praised Sino-Australian cooperation in trade, education and tourism in the last 30 years.

Edward Gough Whitlam served as prime minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975.

On December 21, 1972, within weeks of winning his seat, Whitlam took the momentous step of recognizing the People's Republic of China and thereby laid the foundation for the important, multi-faceted Sino-Australian relationship of today.

Whitlam arrived in Beijing last Sunday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia.

At a news conference yesterday, Whitlam reflected on the achievements of the last three decades and gave his perspective on Sino-Australia relations today.

The former prime minister said he remains proud of the strategic decision to establish diplomatic relations with China.

"Australia has been sticking to the one-China principle," he said. "And both parties have benefited from this understanding."

Last year's bilateral trade volume was US$13.6 billion, and the number is still rising.

Whitlam is visiting as a guest of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. In addition to Beijing, the former prime minister will tour Tianjin in North China, Shanghai in East China, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province.

While in Beijing, Whitlam will see the Beijing 2008 Olympic site exhibition and meet senior officials from the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Games.

Whitlam has been to China 11 times and befriended several late Chinese leaders, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping.

(China Daily July 30, 2002)

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