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Foreign Ministry Officials Introduce President Hu Jintao's State Visit to Australia and Attendance of the 15th Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

On the afternoon of August 28, 2007, assistant foreign ministers Cui Tiankai and He Yafei, at the invitation of the International Press Center, gave a briefing for domestic and foreign journalists as well as the information officers of foreign embassies in China, introducing President Hu Jintao's state visit to Australia and attendance of the 15th Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Liu Jianchao, Director General of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted the briefing.

It is the second state visit of President Hu Jintao to Australia after 2003, which demonstrates the great importance China attaches to advancing relations with Australia, said He Yafei. The visit is of great significance to strengthening the high-level contacts, promoting the friendly exchanges, deepening the pragmatic cooperation and pushing for the healthy and stable development of the all-round partnership between China and Australia.

He pointed out that the bilateral ties have maintained the sound momentum of growth in recent years with frequent high-level exchanges and increasing political mutual trust. The leaders of both countries have reached important consensus on developing the mutually-beneficial and win-win partnership between China and Australia in the 21st century, outlining the direction of and injecting vigor to the development of bilateral ties. The successful friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in various fields bring tangible benefits to their people, evidencing the strong dynamism and great potential of bilateral relations. A sophisticated pattern of economic and trade cooperation in extensive areas between the two countries has been built. China has become the second largest trade partner of Australia, and Australia is the ninth biggest trade partner of China. Both sides have conducted fruitful cooperation in terms of science and technology, culture and environmental protection, which together with active local and non-governmental exchanges have helped consolidate the friendship between the two peoples. China and Australia maintain sound consultations and coordination on major international and regional issues, well enriching the strategic connotation of bilateral relations. They have made active contributions to protecting and promoting regional and world peace and stability.

He noted that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia. President Hu visits Australia with the purpose of enhancing mutual trust, expanding consensus, deepening cooperation and jointly building the future. During the visit President Hu will meet with Governor-General Michael Jeffery, Prime Minister John Howard, speakers of the Senate and House of Representatives and leaders of the opposition party Labor Party, exchanging in-depth views on China-Australia relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern. He will also visit Western Australia and New South Wales to meet people from all sectors of the society. Related departments of the two countries will sign a number of cooperation agreements involving economy and trade, justice, energy and resources. We believe that with the joint efforts of both sides the visit of President Hu will be a great success and lift China-Australia relations to a new level.

Cui Tiankai said that the theme of the 15th Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is "strengthening our community and building a sustainable future". The meeting will discuss such topics as climate change and clean energy, regional economic integration, support for the Doha round of talks, trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and new membership.

While enjoying political stability in general, steady economic growth and deepening regional cooperation, the entire world, including Asia and Pacific, also faces serious problems including worsening economic imbalance, rising trade protectionism, increasing energy and resources pressure and deteriorating ecological environment. This year APEC has continued conducting pragmatic cooperation in the key areas of climate change and clean development, regional economic integration, trade and investment, structural reform and reform of APEC. Its members have discussed and finalized a number of initiatives on strengthening energy and clean development and cooperation, completed the research on regional economic integration, made progresses of cooperation on trade and investment, structural reform, APEC reform, human security and anti-corruption and reinforced interaction with the industrial and commercial community, noted Cui.

He said that President Hu will attend APEC Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting, the dialogue between the economic leaders and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and the APEC Business Summit. He will mainly expound China's opinions and proposition on the Asia-Pacific cooperation process and climate change. At the APEC Business Summit he will explain China's position on the key problems of economic development in Asia-Pacific and the world at large.

It is China's hope that the 15th APEC Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting will reach agreement on and issue the Sydney Declaration on climate change on the basis of extensive consensus among APEC members to demonstrate their positive attitude towards jointly coping with climate changes; pass the Report on Asia-Pacific Regional Economic Integration and approve the policy proposals on pushing forward regional economic integration; support the healthy development of multilateral trade system and push for early results of the Doha round of talks; advance the reform of APEC to raise its efficiency, make it more dynamic and maintain its position and influence in regional cooperation. To that end China is ready to make joint efforts with all parties concerned, added Cui.

Later Cui Tiankai and He Yafei answered questions of the journalists.

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