On the afternoon of March 24, 2017 local time, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia jointly attended and addressed the second China-Australia State/Provincial Leaders Forum in Sydney. Principals from China's Jiangsu Province, Henan Province, Hubei Province, Guangdong Province, Chongqing Municipality, Shaanxi Province, Shanxi Province and Guangxi Province as well as all eight states of Australia attended the Forum.
Premier Li said that local cooperation is an indivisible part of China-Australia relations. The Chinese government highly values and supports to strengthen local exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia. Both countries have established more than 100 pairs of friendly states/provinces and cities and gained fruitful results from local cooperation, which not only benefits the two peoples but also shortens the distance between the two peoples' hearts, creating a new phase for the constant development of China-Australia relations.
Li Keqiang pointed out that the current prosperity of China-Australia free trade provides new opportunities for states/provinces and enterprises of both countries to tap cooperation potentials and create new cooperation highlights. With vast territories, China and Australia can further optimize the layout of local cooperation. China welcomes Australia's states to enhance communication and conduct cooperation with more central and western regions in China, and share development dividends from China's "Western Development". It is hoped that the two sides will explore cooperation in more fields and jointly seek business opportunities in agriculture, science, technology, education, logistics and new types of business.
Li Keqiang emphasized that the foundation of China-Australia friendship lies in people and local regions. The state/provincial cooperation should not only generate profits but also underline people's participation. This year marks the 45th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia as well as the China-Australia Year of Tourism. It is hoped that states/provinces of the two countries could take this opportunity to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, science, technology, tourism, youth, media and other fields, and launch more popular and colorful activities to make the seeds of friendship take root and blossom in mutual communication and understanding.
Malcolm Turnbull said that Australia and China enjoy a long history of local exchanges and close cooperation in many fields, which brings tangible benefits to the two peoples. The active local participation is indispensable in the development of Australia-China relations. Australia and China are reliable cooperation partners and face various new cooperation opportunities. It is hoped that the two countries could make joint efforts to continually promote local exchanges and cooperation in order to make new contribution to achieving economic prosperity of the two countries and promoting free trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
On the afternoon of the same day, Premier Li Keqiang left Canberra for Sydney by a special plane to continue his official visit in Australia. Mme. Cheng Hong, wife of Premier Li Keqiang, also arrived in Sydney by the same plane.