China, Australia agree to step up military cooperation

22:43, December 17, 2010      

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China and Australia on Friday agreed to expand exchange and cooperation between the two armed forces so to cope with emerging new security challenges.

"The two armed forces should step up exchanges and bolster cooperation to jointly tackle various kinds of security challenges," Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping told a delegation of senior Australian defense officials.

During the one-hour-long meeting at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing, Xi, also vice chairman of the Communist Party of China Central Military Commission, hailed the current Chinese-Australian ties and urged the two states to further strengthen cooperation.

His remarks came as the two sides concluded their 13th defense strategic consultation in east China's Nantong City, Jiangsu Province, Friday morning.

The annual dialogue was co-chaired by Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and Australian Defense Forces Chief Commander Angus Houston and Secretary of the Defense Department Ian Watt.

All of them attended the meeting with Xi.

During the dialogue in Nantong, the two sides pledged to step up strategic communication and exchange views on major international and regional issues.

China has always attached great importance to bilateral military ties between the two nations, Chen said, vowing to work with Australia to deepen cooperation in sectors like humanitarian disaster relief and cross-military officer exchanges.

He also called for further coordination and military mutual trust between the two states.

Houston and Watt highlighted the importance of such dialogue between the two armed forces and defense departments.

They also said both sides have improved mutual understanding over the past 13 years since the talks were first held.

Australia was willing to work with China to explore new forms of military exchanges and continue to boost the development of bilateral military ties, they said.

The China-Australia Defense Strategic Dialogue, started in 1997, is currently the highest level and longest-lasting platform for defense talks between Chinese and foreign armed forces.

Source: Xinhua
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