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Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Gas Contract Avails Ties with Australia

Australian Prime Minister John Howard met Monday with visiting Chinese top lawmaker Li Peng and the two sides agreed to further enhance cooperation in various fields.


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Li Peng Meets Australian Prime Minister
Australian Prime Minister John Howard met Monday with visiting Chinese top lawmaker Li Peng and the two sides agreed to further enhance cooperation in various fields.

During their talks, the two leaders expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations 30 years ago.

The two sides have established a mechanism of consultation and dialogue on political and security issues, Li said, adding that economic cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries have also maintained a strong momentum.

He congratulated Australia for winning the contract to supply south China's province of Guangdong with 3.3 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually in the next 25 years, saying that the agreement reached earlier this year foresees a bright future of bilateral economic cooperation that benefits both sides.

"My visit this time is intended to enhance mutual trust, broaden common ground and deepen cooperation with Australia," said Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress.

Sharing Li's comments on bilateral ties, Howard said the relationship is "in good shape" with strong economic cooperation and increasing exchanges between various levels of both countries.

Howard praised the agreement between Australia and China on the former's supply of liquefied natural gas to China's southern province of Guangdong.

The North West Shelf consortium of Australia was picked in August to supply 3.2 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually for 25 years to Guangdong.

The Australian side expressed its excitement over its largest single export order. Howard said the project proved there is great potential in bilateral economic and trade co-operation.

The prime minister said he believes that China's entry to the World Trade Organization and its holding of the 2008 Olympic Games will mark the beginning of more rapid economic growth.

Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, said China is happy to see new progress made in bilateral economic and trade co-operation.

China is Australia's third largest trading partner. Statistics revealed the Sino-Australian trade volume reached US$8.9 billion last year, up 6.5 per cent on the previous year. In the first seven months, it exceeded US$5.6 billion, a 17.9 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Howard also predicted that Australia would see more tourists from China than from Japan in the year 2010.

During their talks, two leaders also exchanged views on international issues including the situation in South Asia.

Australia is the final leg of Li's four-nation Asia-Pacific tour which has brought him to Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.


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