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Acting PM issues statement marking 40th anniversary of Australia-China diplomatic ties


12:57, December 21, 2012

CANBERRA, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Acting Australian Prime Minister Wayne Swan issued a statement on Friday to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and China.

"The opening of diplomatic relations on December 21, 1972 was a turning point in our bilateral relationship and paved the way for the comprehensive, constructive and cooperative relationship we have today," Swan said.

"Prime Minister (Gough) Whitlam's decision to recognize the People's Republic of China was visionary and historic. For Australia, engagement with China reflected our more confident voice on the world stage."

Swan said Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao exchanged letters of congratulation on Friday.

"Forty years on from Whitlam's visit, our relationship with China is one of our most important. In those four decades, the value of trade between Australia and China has grown a thousand fold - China is our largest trading partner. Australian resources have helped power China's economic growth."

Half a million Chinese people visited Australia each year, and over 350,000 Australians visit China each year. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students have trained in Australia. Last year alone there were more than one hundred thousand Chinese students studying in Australia, Swan said.

"Our Government-to-Government relations are strong and broad," he said. "I am confident that the remarkable relationship that has flourished between our countries will continue to grow in the years ahead."

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