SYDNEY: China and Australia yesterday agreed to establish an annual strategic dialogue mechanism, signaling a major step forward in the development of ties.
President Hu Jintao said the talks would increase dialogue and cooperation on various bilateral and global issues.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said it is an instrument to expand the horizons of bilateral ties and "an expression of the long-term faith in the relationship".
The leaders gave no details of the strategic dialogue, or when it will be held. But it is believed the meetings will be similar to discussions Australia currently has with the United States and Japan, involving foreign and trade ministers.
After an hour-and-half closed-door meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of six agreements on trade, energy and justice. They include:
an LNG deal worth A$35 billion ($29 billion) inked between China National Petroleum Corporation and Woodside Energy Ltd;
joint development of the Karara Iron Ore project by Anshan Iron and Steel Group Corp and Gindalbie Metals Ltd; and
an extradition treaty;
The two countries released a joint statement on climate change and energy cooperation, agreeing on the importance of the issues.
Howard said Australia will commit a further A$20 million ($16.5 million) to the Sino-Australian joint effort on clean coal technologies, in particular a project in Beijing and a power plant in Australia.
The two leaders also agreed on the role that the safe and secure use of nuclear power can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Australian leader also expressed support to China's proposal for an Asia-Pacific Network on Sustainable Forest Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management.
Source: China Daily