Chinese, Australian PMs call for early FTA deal

10:01, October 25, 2009      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd called here on Saturday for an early signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two Asia-Pacific major economies.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao meet with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Oct. 24, 2009. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

"The mutual-respect, mutual-trust and cooperation between China and Australia, both as big countries in the Asia-Pacific region, will not only yield tangible benefits for the two nations, but also have a positive impact on a larger scale," Wen said in talks with Rudd on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits.

The key to maintaining a sound and steady development of bilateral ties lies in their respect for and care about each other's core interests and major concerns, Wen said, pledging to work together with Australia to boost their ties.

The Chinese premier also highlighted the importance of an FTA between the two countries, asking the two sides to reach a quality, comprehensive and acceptable FTA deal in a spirit of positive cooperation, pragmatism, balance and mutual-benefit.

While hailing the cooperation between Australia and China in various fields, Rudd said his country is willing to maintain high-level exchanges and deepen mutual understanding with China under the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

He pledged adherence to the one China policy and respect for China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Australia hopes to reach consensus as early as possible on the FTA and will bolster cooperation with China in such fields as trade, economy, investment, energy, agriculture and service, Rudd said during their meeting at a hotel in the central Thailand beach resort.

The two leaders also exchanged their views on East Asian cooperation and climate change.

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