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Interview: Huge progress made in 35 years of China-Australia diplomatic ties: ambassador
2007/09/03

CANBERRA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- The progress made in the development of cooperative relations between China and Australia has been so tremendous that no one could have imagined it 35 years ago when the two countries established diplomatic ties, Chinese ambassador to Australia Zhang Junsai says.

Remarkable progress has been made in bilateral ties, marked by frequent high-level contacts, increased trade and economic cooperation and a substantial increase in personnel exchanges, ambassador Zhang told Xinhua in a recent interview on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Australia.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia. In Australia, President Hu will also attend the informal meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Up to 2006, bilateral trade had increased 382 times from the beginning of diplomatic relations, and the number of tourist arrivals leapt to more than 800,000 from less than 1,000. The number of Chinese students studying in Australia has grown from virtually none to nearly 80,000, and there are now over 30 direct flights per week between the two countries, growing from scratch.

All these have helped lay a firm foundation for developing political, economic and people-to-people ties between the two countries,
Zhang said.

On future bilateral ties,
Zhang said promoting mutual trust, living in peace with each other and seeking mutually beneficial cooperation has always been the main tone of bilateral relations in the past 35 years. The healthy and stable development of bilateral ties serves the long-term interests of the two countries and have already brought tremendous benefits to both peoples.

Both countries aim to foster a comprehensive cooperative relationship featuring long-term friendship, a high degree of mutual trust and mutual benefit between the two countries. Regarding Australia as an important cooperative partner in the Asia-Pacific region, China has made continued efforts to strengthen coordination and communication with it in promoting regional peace and development, the Chinese ambassador said.

Australia, on the other hand, views China's development as an rare opportunity. "China's progress is good for China and good for the world," Australian Prime Minister John Howard told the Asia Society in New York City in September 2005.

The establishment of a close, pragmatic, constructive and lasting relationship with China was one of Australia's most important diplomatic achievements in the past decade, according to Howard.

Bilateral trade topped 33 billion U.S. dollars last year, and in the first half of this year, it stood at 19.5 billion dollars, according to Chinese statistics.

China is Australia's second largest trade partner, and China's economic development has brought tangible benefits to Australia,
Zhang said.

China's fast and sustained economic growth will continue to contribute to Australia's economy, profit growth of large firms and raising the local population's income and their standard of living, Australia media said.

Zhang voiced full confidence that bilateral economic and trade cooperation will be further deepened and cover more areas.

China's sustained economic growth and the high complementarity of the two economies are a strong driving force behind the continued growth in bilateral trade and economic ties, he said.

President Hu's upcoming visit to Australia will push the development of the comprehensive, cooperative and mutually-beneficial relationship between the two countries to a new phase,
Zhang said. Enditem
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