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China, Australia can play bigger role in region: ambassador
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Chinese ambassador to Australia Zhang Junsai said on Thursday that both China and Australia can play a bigger cooperative role in safeguarding the Asia Pacific region.

"China and Australia are both very important countries in the region and our bilateral relationship should go beyond just bilateral contact. Our two countries have a really big role to play in safeguarding the security of this region," Zhang said in a speech at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra.

Zhang noted that China and Australia are both important countries in the region, and both countries should continue to strengthen the dialogue and consultation on important regional security issues.

The ambassador indicated China was open to discussing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's plan for an Asia Pacific Community but stressed it had to add to security in the region.

"We are very open to any proposals to set out a regional security mechanism as long as it is conducive to peace and stability. We are studying this. As long as it is positive, our doors are open to the discussions," he said, adding that the Australian special envoy Richard Woolcott will visit China shortly. The two sides will further exchange views on the matter.

"But so far I know this is just a concept, and this will be difficult and also the prime minister said it was not until 2020 .. . we have a lot of time to discuss it."

The ambassador also emphasized China's desire for peace and harmony in the region.

"We should increase our communications to enhance mutual trust which is the basis and prerequisite for regional security cooperation," he said.

"Strengthening ... military alliances and seeking military supremacy are a Cold War mentality and are not conducive to the building of political trust and only have unstable elements to regional security," he stressed.

(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2008)

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