Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao and Australian Prime Minister John Howard held talks Thursday and agreed to strengthen dialogue and push forward the all-round development of bilateral ties.
During their talks in Australia's largest city of Sydney, the two leaders also pledged to enhance mutual trust and deepen cooperation.
Hu also put forward the following four-point proposal on enhancing bilateral ties:
First, both countries maintain closer high-level exchanges; strengthen strategic dialogue and bilateral contacts among legislative bodies and political parties.
The two countries agreed to establish an annual strategic dialogue mechanism and hoped to increase dialogue and strengthen coordination on important issues concerning long-term development of bilateral ties as well as world peace and development, the Chinese president said.
"I hope such mechanism will contribute to pushing forward the long-term, healthy and steady development of bilateral ties," said the Chinese president.
Second, both countries take steps to deepen economic and trade cooperation to achieve a win-win situation of mutual benefit.
The two countries should expand cooperation in sustainable development, including clean energy, environmental protection, climate change and water resources, Hu said.
Third, the two sides increase people-to-people exchanges, enhance friendship, strengthen cooperation and support the increase of contact among the youth.
Fourth, China and Australia strengthen communications and coordination, and build a harmonious Asia-Pacific region through joint efforts.
The two countries should strengthen cooperation within the frameworks of the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Pacific Islands Forum, and promote efforts by the countries in the region to achieve common security based on mutual trust and mutual benefit, equality and coordination, he said.
In the past 35 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties, the all-round development of bilateral ties has brought substantial benefits to both peoples and contributed to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world, the Chinese president said.
China and Australia, both as nations of significant influence, shoulder important responsibilities of safeguarding and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world, he added.
"We hope China and Australia would become not only each other's major trading partners, but also constructive cooperative partners in regional and international affairs," Hu said.
China attaches great importance to developing its relations with Australia and is ready to develop bilateral ties from a long-term and strategic perspective and in an all-round way, Hu added.
On the Taiwan question, Hu said it concerns China's core interests, national sovereignty and territorial integrity. China, with great sincerity, will do its utmost to safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and promote the healthy development of relations across the Taiwan Straits, Hu said. "The Chinese government will do its utmost to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question, but will never allow anyone to attempt to separate Taiwan from its motherland by any means," Hu added.
The Australian government has reaffirmed its adherence to the one China policy and opposition to "Taiwan independence" in numerous occasions, Hu said.
China appreciates the Australian government's stance and hopes it will continue to support the Chinese people's efforts to safeguard the national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he said.
Howard lauded the strong ties between Australia and China, saying the two countries have seen quick development in bilateral trade, educational cooperation and personnel exchanges in the past 10 years.
He pointed out that China's development benefits not only China, but Australia and the whole world as well. Australia is engaged in a long-term development of ties with China and ready to increase strategic dialogue with it and expand cooperation in all fields, he added.
The Australian prime minister stressed that his country has always adhered to the one China policy and will not change this stand. Australia does not support the Taiwan authority in its attempt to seek UN membership and opposes any of its provocations, he said.
Following their talks, officials of the two countries signed a series of documents on bilateral cooperation.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia. In 2006, the two countries agreed to develop a relationship of comprehensive and mutually beneficial cooperation in the 21st century.
In recent years, cooperation between the two countries has been expanding steadily in a wide range of fields such as economy, trade, energy, environmental protection, culture, science and technology, education and tourism.
Hu started his state visit to Australia on Monday, the second since 2003.
On Thursday, Hu addressed the opening ceremony of the APEC Business Summit and expounded China's views on advancing comprehensive cooperation among the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members in pursuit of sustainable development in the region and the world at large.
On Saturday and Sunday, Hu will attend the Economic Leaders Meeting of the APEC forum in Sydney, and meet with leaders of other APEC members on the sidelines of the meeting.
Joint efforts against int'l crime
China and Australia inked treaties on extradition and the transfer of sentenced persons on Thursday to strengthen their cooperation against international crime.
The Treaty on Extradition between the People's Republic of China and Australia, and the Treaty between the People's Republic of China and Australia Concerning Transfer of Sentenced Persons were jointly signed by China's Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi and Australia’s Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.
The two treaties will ensure that China and Australia are in a strong position to effectively combat domestic and trans-national crime and that neither country becomes a safe haven for fugitive criminals, said a press release issued by the Australia n Attorney-General's office.
The two countries signed the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Treaty, which came into force in March 2007.
Joint statement on climate change, energy
China and Australia issued a joint statement Thursday, pledging to work together to address climate change and energy issues in ways consistent with each other's economic growth aspirations.
In the statement, the two countries expressed their satisfaction with bilateral cooperation on climate change and energy issues, particularly in the areas of coal mine methane recovery, energy efficiency, climate change science and agriculture.
China and Australia also attach importance to the role nuclear power, with suitable safeguards, can play in coping with climate change, noting that recent agreements between the two governments will enhance bilateral substantive cooperation, the statement said.
Both countries reaffirm their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its objectives and principles and agree to enhance their dialogue and cooperation within the framework of the UNFCCC, it added.
In the statement, China and Australia also reaffirmed their commitment to the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, lauded the progress made since the partnership was established in Sydney in January 2006, and pledged to continue to facilitate relevant cooperation projects.
The two countries also vowed to promote the development, deployment and transfer of improved and cost-effective low-emissions technology under frameworks of regional and multilateral partnerships.
In addition, they committed themselves to advancing the APEC Energy Working Group agenda in key areas such as achieving energy security, promoting energy efficiency, expanding energy investment and facilitating trade.
The two countries further agreed to strengthen cooperation on sustainable forestry management in the face of climate change, particularly through the UNFCCC and under the Global Initiative on Forests and Climate.
Over the matter of forestry management, the Australia n side said that it supports China's proposal for setting up an Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation, saying it has the potential to make a valuable contribution to the regional efforts to achieve sustainable forestry management and curb climate change.
The two countries welcomed the establishment of the Joint Coordination Group on Clean Coal Technology, believing it will enhance bilateral cooperation and make a major contribution to improving the economic and environmental performance of coal use globally. They promised to strengthen the important role of the Joint Coordination Group under which a series of projects will be undertaken.
The statement also mentioned a number of other projects that are under development in areas such as skills training to assess the geological storage potential for CO2, enhanced coal bed methane trials and solar thermal energy technology.
Both countries also welcomed the joint research under the China-Australia Special Fund for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, notably in the areas of air quality, climate change and renewable energy sources, and agreed to continue cooperation on coal mine safety.
(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2007)