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China Daily Website

Australia to open consulate in SW China's Chengdu

Updated: 2012-03-20 15:55
( Xinhua)

CANBERRA - Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Tuesday the government intends to open a new consulate-general in Chengdu, the capital of China's western Sichuan Province.

It is the first new diplomatic mission Australia has opened in China since the 1980s, signifying that Australia is boosting its diplomatic footprint in China.

The government believes the new mission will help boost trade and business links, and the funding will be provided in the coming May budget.

New Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the Chengdu mission would provide a direct link to a diverse province that is home to more than 80 million people.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Dennis Richardson has said Australia's footprint in China is lagging behind comparable Western nations.

Australia already has missions in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Analysts say the initiative can be regarded as another step the Gillard government took in positioning itself in the so-called Asian Century.