China-Australia ties have bright prospects: Xi
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a welcome ceremony held by Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove in Canberra, Nov 17, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]
CANBERRA - Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a meeting with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove here Monday that bilateral relations have bright prospects.
Xi noted that the two sides have decided to lift their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and have practically completed bilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA).
The progress, stressed the president, has opened a new chapter in the friendly cooperation between the two countries.
Recalling his first visit to Australia, which took place in 1988, he said the current width and depth of bilateral cooperation were unimaginable 26 years ago.
"I am looking forward to deepening understanding about Australia through this visit," Xi added.
Speaking highly of the great importance Cosgrove attaches to bilateral relations, Xi particularly acclaimed the veteran-turned-governor-general's contribution to China-Australia defense cooperation.
China, Xi said, pays high attention to developing bilateral military relations, and stands ready to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation through high-level visits, joint drills and defense consultations and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.
For his part, Cosgrove said the establishment of the Australia-China comprehensive strategic partnership and the conclusion of bilateral FTA negotiations demonstrate the two countries' strong commitment to and the great potential in bilateral cooperation.
Cosgrove said he is delighted to see that Australian and Chinese armed forces have revved up exchanges and cooperation and carried out joint exercises and is deeply impressed by the top-notch quality of Chinese troops.
He added that he is fully confident in bilateral ties.
Before their meeting, Cosgrove held a grand welcome ceremony for Xi, who is paying a state visit to Australia after attending a Group of Twenty summit in the Australian city of Brisbane.
Australia is the first leg of Xi's ongoing tour, which will also take him to New Zealand and Fiji.