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China-Australia Uranium Sales Deal Passed
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China and Australia will increase uranium cooperation efforts from next year as a parliamentary committee in Canberra yesterday approved an export deal.


Australia, holding 40 percent of the world's recoverable uranium, will begin selling uranium to China from next year, paving the way for Canberra to share its nuclear material and technology with Beijing.


The two countries reached agreements on the transfer of nuclear materials for peaceful use in April during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Australia.


China has always taken a positive attitude towards cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy based on equality and mutual benefits.


The Foreign Ministry has repeated on several occasions that China is willing to conduct such cooperation as part of honoring its respective international obligations to other countries.


Premier Wen is expected to meet with his Australian counterpart John Howard on the sidelines of the East Asia summit, held next week in Cebu, an island in the Philippines.


It is believed both leaders will further reaffirm their common understanding of the issue of nuclear cooperation. Analysts said the Sino-Australian nuclear cooperation showed that the mutual trust between the two countries had reached a new high.


Han Feng, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Western countries were always very cautious about exporting nuclear materials to China due to political factors.


"The approval from the Australian parliamentary committee is the follow up action to the April agreements and it is the result of the increasing mutual understanding and trust between the two countries," he said.


He thought that the Australian government has clearly showed its determination to forge stronger links with China through partnerships such as uranium cooperation. Han said as Australia is richly endowed with natural resources, in particular energy resources, while China presents the world with a huge market, it is "absolutely a mutually beneficial cooperation."


Han said the commercial agreements would enable an expansion of Australia's uranium industry.


(China Daily December 7, 2006)

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