Australian PM: Australia-China relationship "very positive, constructive"

13:26, April 28, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard inspect guards of honor during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, capital of China, April 26, 2011. (Xinhua/Li Tao)

The relationship between Australia and China is very positive and constructive, with strong links in the economy, people-to-people exchanges and international forums, the Australian prime minister said in Beijing on Wednesday.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is paying a four-day visit to China, told reporters that she came "against the backdrop of a positive relationship and a very strong economic relationship between the two countries."

"I am satisfied that I have been able to have productive and friendly discussions while staying here. There have been some direct, practical outcomes from the visit," Gillard said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks on Tuesday with Gillard. Both leaders witnessed the signing of five cooperative deals, including a 600-million U.S. dollar deal on financing for an iron ore project of Western Australia' s Karara Mining, Ltd.

Gillard attended the China-Australia Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum on Tuesday with Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang. She also met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday.

Gillard said she agreed with Premier Wen and President Hu that Australia and China would work together to increase the economic links between the two countries, particularly through continuing discussions on their free trade agreement.

"I am very confident the economic relationship between the two countries is good for both of us," Gillard said, indicating that a productive trade with Australia's sale of energy resources to China has helped feed China's spectacular economic growth.

Gillard said Australia welcomes Chinese investment in Australia. "We have a system where we assist foreign investment proposals the same way China does, on a case-by-case basis."

The Australia-China relationship is also growing with more tourism and more Chinese students in Australia, Gillard said.

Gillard, who will attend an opera on Wednesday night, said cultural exchanges are very important for both countries.

The memorandum of understanding on the reciprocal years of culture (2010-2012) between China and Australia is "a terrific initiative to help the people of both countries to better understand the culture of the other country," Gillard said.

Under the program, the Year of Australian Culture in China was scheduled from 2010 to 2011, and the Year of Chinese Culture in Australia will be held from 2011 to 2012.

"Of course, China, with this ancient culture, has a lot to share and showcase in Australia over the next few months," Gillard said.

Further, Gillard said both countries have strong links in international forums such as the G20 and the APEC.

'Both Australia and China certainly share the view that it is important that the G20, at the top level, be the primary economic forum in the world, and draws on our collaboration so that the world can overcome the negative impacts of the global financial crisis," Gillard said.

Australia and China are also strongly engaged in the region through the East Asia summit, which is "an important institution to look at regional issues, economic, political and security issues," Gillard said.

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Source: Xinhua
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