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China, Australia agree to enhance cultural exchanges
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China and Australia agreed to strengthen cultural exchanges as an important effort to push forward all-round bilateral ties amidst the visit of Li Changchun, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Li, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, had a meeting with Australian Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts Peter Garrett on Monday, during which they reached consensus to promote cultural contacts.

Li said that the cultural exchanges are means of communication among peoples and an important channel to enhance mutual understanding and friendship, thus playing an elementary role for the growth of Sino-Australian cooperation.

He called on both sides to further strengthen cooperation in cultural, educational and tourist areas after the two sides inked an implementation program for cultural exchanges.

"Friends from cultural circle are welcomed to China for the better understanding of the Chinese culture," he said.

Li also welcomed Australia to participate in the World Expo, due to be held in Shanghai in 2010.

Garrett said cultural authorities in the two countries shoulder "special responsibilities" to deepen bilateral cultural exchanges and hoped such communication could give an impetus to the growth of bilateral ties in all fields.

He welcomed Chinese art troupes to take part in the international art festival to be held in Perth in the second half year.

Li arrived in Australia on last Friday. Australia is the first leg of Li's four-nation tour which will also take him to Myanmar, Republic of Korea and Japan.

(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2009)

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