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China, Australia establish strategic talks

(China Daily)

08:24, April 10, 2013

Premier Li Keqiang chats with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard at a ceremony for the signing of agreements in Beijing on Tuesday. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

China and Australia had the first of their planned annual meetings between premiers on Tuesday and agreed to set up a Strategic Economic Dialogue as well as another dialogue focusing on diplomacy and strategy.

Premier Li Keqiang met with his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Beijing and Canberra also announced that the Australian dollar will become the third major currency to have direct convertibility with the yuan, after the US dollar and the Japanese yen.

Gillard's five-day visit to China, shortly after the new Chinese leadership took office, shows that Australia, which defines itself as an Asian country, has fully realized the importance of China, experts said.

The two leaders talked casually in English while they waited for the welcoming ceremony and during the signing ceremony.

"He is an outgoing person to talk to and has a sense of humor, I think. In Australian style, we enjoy that. We had warm conversations rather than old formalities. I did get a sense of warmth and engagement with him," Gillard said of Li when talking to reporters after the meeting.

At the meeting, the two nations agreed to accelerate negotiations on the China-Australia free trade agreement, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

The leaders agreed to strengthen defense exchanges and have better cooperation in multilateral affairs.

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