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Australia to participate in Shanghai World Expo
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Australia on Thursday signed a contract to confirm its participation in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, speaking in Mandarin, expressed his congratulations for the occasion via video message.

He said the expo provided a chance for his country to further its bilateral relations with China.

Australia hopes to show China every aspect of its economy and culture through actively participating in the expo, and to contribute to its theme, "Better city, Better life."

He added he looked forward to a chance to attend such a historic event.

Peter Tesch, executive director of the Shanghai World Expo Unit with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australia government, disclosed 61 million Australian dollars (about 58.7 million U.S. dollars) would be set aside for financing its participation.

An extra 22 million Australian dollars would be raised via corporate sponsorship and contributions by different Australian states. The money would be used to finance construction of a country pavilion and other related activities in Shanghai.

The pavilion it plans to build will be in Pudong New District. It will have a height of 20 meters and cover an area of 4,800 square meters.

An estimated seven million visitors are expected for the display.

The expo takes place from May 1 to October 31, 2010.

So far, 208 countries and international organizations have applied to attend the expo, of which 50 have signed contracts, according to a source with the expo coordination bureau.

(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2008)

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