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President wants more deals with Australia

By Wu Jiao in Boao, Hainan, Cheng Guangjin and Zhou Wa in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-08 00:58

President Xi Jinping called on Sunday for more cooperation with Australia in bilateral economic ties and promoting stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

China and Australia's common interests, space for cooperation and common responsibilities are increasing amid the complicated and changing international and regional situation, Xi told Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a meeting on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013 held in Hainan province from Saturday to Monday.

He urged the two countries to accelerate negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement and diversify bilateral trade and investment to promote the China-Australia relationship to a new high.

President wants more deals with Australia

President Xi Jinping meets Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013 in Boao, Hainan province, on Sunday. WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Analysts said there is plenty of room for the two countries to advance bilateral ties and cooperation, which will increase interactions between them and provide better solutions to problems in the bilateral relationship.

Han Feng, a researcher on Asia-Pacific studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that agriculture, science and technology, healthcare and education are all areas that China and Australia can seek more cooperation in the future.

Xi said the two countries should treat each other as strategic and constructive cooperation partners, take care of each other's core interests and major concerns, and build up a new type of bilateral relationship that features mutual respect, trust and win-win cooperation.

The two countries should also take the lead in promoting development and mutual trust in the Asia-Pacific region, where stability and development is the most important issue, Xi said.

Gillard, on her second visit to China in two years, said Australia is committed to developing a strategic partnership with China based on mutual respect, mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

Australia hopes to become a stable resource supplier of China and expand bilateral cooperation in areas including agriculture, financial services and two-way investment, Gillard said.

The country also wants to maintain communication and coordination with China to protect regional peace, stability and development, she said.

The two countries have established regular meetings between their prime ministers, which will elevate the level of bilateral cooperation, Gillard said.

Accompanying Gillard is a high-level delegation including Australia's ministers of foreign affairs, defense, trade and financial services for talks with China's new leaders and the business community.

"It is a clear expression of Australia's determination to build broad trade, investment and political ties with China," Rory Medcalf, director of the International Security Program at Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, said in an article published recently in The Diplomat.

Gillard said ahead of the meeting that she wants to take practical steps to strengthen and diversify the relationship with China, Australia's largest trading partner, according to ABC News. China-Australia trade in 2012 totaled more than $126 billion.

"What that means is a relationship that extends well beyond the economic and a relationship in which Australia and China work together, not just bilaterally, but where we have common interests regionally and globally," she said.

She said closer ties at a leadership level, trade diversity, a more extensive relationship in areas such as defense and education and climate change mitigation were all areas that deserve attention, ABC News reported.

Australia unveiled its first national security strategy in January, saying the country will continue to engage in practical cooperation with China and welcomes China playing an "increasingly active and constructive role" in the region.

It pledged to seek to "develop a more comprehensive dialogue across the breadth of issues of shared interest" with China.

On Sunday, Xi also held talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand, Chairman Zandaakhuu Enkhbold of the State Great Hural of Mongolia and Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah of the Algerian Council of Nation.

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