On Dec. 18, the Chinese Embassy held the Reception hailing the 35th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between China and Australia.
Ambassador Zhang Junsai delivered a speech and express his gratitude to old and new friends , who have consistently contributed to this sound relationship in the past years.
He said, December 21, 1972 was a remarkable day for both China and Australia. On that day, the Labor Government led by Honorable Whitlam recognized that there is only one China in the world, and established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. From then on, a solid foundation was laid for advancement of the bilateral relations. During the past 35 years, we have witnessed tremendous development thanks to the joint efforts made by our two governments and two peoples.
First, the leaders of our two countries have been frequently meeting each other, and political mutual trust has been increased. In September this year, President Hu made his second state visit to Australia. During his visit, we signed a series of agreements and contracts in the fields of trade, energy, justice and culture. These brought about a new page of mutually beneficial co-operations between our two countries.
Second, the economic and trade co-operations have also generated fruitful results. Last year, the bilateral trade volume hit at 32.9 billion US $, which was 383 times as much as that of 35 years ago. The trade volume in the first 10 months this year already reached at 34.9 billion US Dollars, an increase of more than 33% over the same period last year. So, we expect the figure for the whole year will break the record again and will realize at over 42 billion US dollars.
Third, in recent years, we have seen frequent contacts between our two peoples. The number of Australian visitors to China between January and August was 376 thousand, an increase of 13%. At the same time, the number of Chinese visitors reached 243 thousand, an increase of 18% over the same period last year. Now, there are more than 90 thousand Chinese students studying in Australia, and China is the biggest source of foreign students here in Australia. Besides, both countries have agreed upon the research programs on Panda bears. China has decided on the two pandas with one named "Wang Wang", and the other named "Fu Ni". The two pandas are expected to arrive in Australia next year, and we hope they will become the good-will "ambassadors" between the people of our two nations.
The sound advancement of China-Australia relations is benefited from the wide range of common interests of our two countries. Australia views China's development as its opportunity, and China treats Australia as one of our good partners. Both parties wish to gain consistent social and economic development through the mutual beneficial collaborations. In terms of international and regional issues, both China and Australia have kept healthy coordination through regular discussions and negotiations, and are committed to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and the world.
Ambassador Zhang stressed that we are now at the best period of time in our relations, and the relationship between China and Australia is full of new and vital opportunities for further advancements. In October this year, the 17th National Congress of Communist Party of China was successfully held in Beijing. The Congress has delivered an important message to the world, that is, China will continue to take the path of the reform and opening up to the outside world and achieve peaceful development. China will maintain its policy of good and fast development in national economy. It has set up a future target to double the GDP in 2010 against that of the year 2000. To realize this target, China will keep close ties and collaborations with various countries including Australia.
As we all know, China will hold the 29th Olympic Game in Beijing in 2008, as well as the 42nd World Expositions in Shanghai in the year 2010. I'd like to encourage the Australians from various sectors to view the Games and visit the Expo in China.
To enhance future co-operations between China and Australia in an all-round way, is conducive not only to common progress of the two countries' prosperity, but also to the maintenance of regional and world's peace and stability. It is at the best interest of our two countries and two peoples. I would like to take this opportunity again to express my appreciations to the successive governments of Australia, which have contributed to our bilateral relations. China is willing to make joint efforts with the new Australian government and people from all walks of life to promote Sino-Australian relations to a higher level in the next 35 years and more.
The Hon Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy, and over 200 guests from different circles attended the reception. Mr. Michael L'estrange, Secretary of DFAT also made his address.