Journalist: What is the significance of the visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to Australia?
FU Ying: The visit will be an important demonstration of the excellent state of relations between China and Australia. The two sides are making all the preparations to ensure its success.
The last visit by a Chinese Premier was 1988, 18 years ago. It was by Premier Li Peng. Premier Zhu Rongji visited Australia when he was Vice Premier. However, there has never been absence of high-level exchanges between our two countries. President Hu Jintao visited Australia in 2003 and Chairman Wu Bangguo 2005.
Prime Minister Howard has visited China 5 times and also met Chinese Leaders on regional occasions every year.
Now he is looking forward to Premier Wen's visit and is paying great attention to the preparations for the visit.
From what I understand, Premier Wen will, through the visit, confirm and consolidate the political trust building up between the two countries and upgrade our cooperation to a higher level. There will also be exchange of views on international and regional issues of common interest.
In the economic field, the two leaders will discuss ways and means as to how to ensure stable expansion of our cooperation. Quite a number of agreements will be signed during the visit at both the governmental level as well as some substantive MOUs on cooperation projects.
So I could foresee a fruitful visit.
Journalist: Where do you place our relations with Australia on the broad map of China's international relations?
FU Ying: I would identify Australia as an important part of China's wider ring of neighbors.
Maybe Australia is not always associated with the word neighbor as it is often regarded as a far away country on the other side of the globe.
But in geographical terms it is not so far. For example, from Australia's northern city Darwin to China's southern city Haikou, it takes four and half hours by flight. From Haikou to Wulumuqi, it would need 5 hours.
Darwin is only 2 hours of flight to Bali Island of Indonesia, which is regarded as a close neighbor to China.
But admittedly Australia is not so well know to Chinese people in the past. Now there is better knowledge of Australia among the Chinese people, as Australia has become our important partner in the region and our bilateral exchanges in trade, tourism, education and science research all are growing with strong momentum.
Australia is also quite unique for our international relations.
For us, it has multi-facet characters. It is rich in natural resources and has strong science and services sectors. In our pursuit to the goals for the 11 th five-year plan, there is a lot Australia could offer and could work with China on.
Australia is also a western developed country and could be a window for us to understand the world as well as to achieve understanding from the world. Premier Wen will address a wide audience in Canberra with messages to the Australia people and to the world.
Australia has a well-established and mature legal and management system and with the friendly atmosphere, it is a good place for China to learn management skills, to acquire information and technology in such areas as environment, clean and efficient use of energy, safe mining etc.
Therefore, our relations with Australia are also multi-faceted in nature and very rich in content.
Journalist: What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages in your effort to promote the bilateral relations.
FU Ying: The most important advantage in our relations, as far as I can see, is that we have a high comfort level in the political field. Australia does not see threat in China and China does not regard Australia as a threat. That is why we could work out the differences and focus on the positive side.
Secondly, our economic structures are highly complementary. Australia has a huge landmass of 7.6 million square Km with vast natural resource. It also has an advanced services sector, especially a strong science base. Its population is small and therefore its manufacturing sector is relatively small. China is the other way around. We have a strong manufacturing sector but we are relatively weaker at the other two ends.
So China and Australia are natural partners for cooperation. That is way we are witnessing fast growth of interaction in almost every field.
But it doesn't mean there are no problems and no difficulties.
China and Australia have very different history and our political cultural and philosophies are not the same. We need to constantly engage in dialogue to understand each other and learn to respect each other.
On the other hand, as our trade and other relations are growing very fast, there are also occasionally problems of quality in the services, differences in how to managing the growth. Currently the Australian iron ore companies are engaged in negotiations with the Chinese steel industry on the iron ore prices. They seem have difficulties agreeing on the price level.
These are the kind problems that normally occur when you have a robust relationship. The important thing is to handle these issues well and make sure that the results benefit both sides. Only in this way the relationship could grow in a healthy and sustained manner.