Long-term strategic view needed in Sino-Australia military ties: Chinese general

20:14, October 16, 2009      

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Visiting Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of General Staff said here Friday that the mil-to-mil ties between China and Australia need to be managed from a strategic and long-term perspective.

"As important players in the region, China and Australia share the responsibility for maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. Our ideology and culture may be different, but our fundamental interests do not collide, the strategic interests we share are broad," General Chen Bingde said in a speech at the Australian Defense College Friday.

"We should go with the times, sustain the healthy development of friendship and bilateral cooperation, so as to maintain Asia-Pacific peace and development and the fundamental interests of both peoples."

"The goal of my current visit is to enhance mutual trust, reduce disputes, expand common understanding, and promote cooperation," he said, adding that mutual trust provides the groundwork for serious cooperation, and objective perspective avoids misunderstanding.

The General believes a win-win strategy need to be adopted in peruse of a positive security environment through vigorous and pragmatic cooperation.

"We hope PLA and Australian Defense Force continue to exchange high-level visits, strengthen strategic and policy dialogue, and further expand pragmatic exchange and cooperation. In that spirit, I've proposed to my Australian counterpart that our two navies hold a humanitarian aid joint exercise next year, so as to better our joint response to non-conventional threats."

He has also brought books on China and the PLA to the College and hoped that Australia will learn more about China and its military and have a thorough, objective understanding.

Chen said, as the Chinese old saying goes "a bosom friend afar brings a distant land near," although China is far away from Australia geographically, the boundless Pacific Ocean does not hinder the two countries and two militaries from friendly exchange.

"It is our shared responsibility to develop strong mil-to-mil ties. To strengthen mil-to-mil exchange and cooperation on all levels and in a range of fields is strategically important," Chen said. "Lasting friendship between China and Australia benefits not only this generation, but also our children and grand-children."

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