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Print Edition> World
UPDATED: April 29, 2011 NO. 18 MAY 5, 2011
Australian PM's Visit Boosts Cooperation
China and Australia develop a practical relationship by building political trust and deepening economic cooperation

While Gillard reaffirmed Australia welcomed Chinese investors, Guo said it was understandable that Australia didn't want foreign companies to control its important industries, such as mineral resources. Chinese investors should accept the fact that they may have only a minority share when establishing joint ventures with Australian partners.

China does not want to control other countries' resources, but seeks to satisfy its own demands for resources, Guo said. Chinese investors could collaborate with other investors to do business in Australia, or work together with Australian investors to explore markets in a third country.

In recent years, China and Australia have strengthened cooperation in clean and renewable energy and forest resources protection. For example, China has applied Australia's carbon capture technology to a thermal power plant project in Hebei Province. "Both governments are paying greater attention to cooperation in these areas," said Guo.

Enhancing mutual respect

Meeting with visiting Australian Prime Minister Gillard, President Hu said the two sides should make sure bilateral relations continue on a sound and stable track with respect for each other by enhancing political mutual trust. On the economic front, Hu said the two countries should make the most of their complementary advantages and turn the extraordinary potential of cooperation into substantial benefits.

China and Australia should strengthen dialogue and cooperation on regional and international issues within multilateral frameworks such as the Group of 20 to jointly cope with global challenges, Hu said. They will make joint efforts for peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole.

Gillard said Australia abides by the one-China principle and views its relationship with China as one of its most important international relationships. She also said Australia attaches great importance to the further development of bilateral ties and it would work with China to boost bilateral relations to new highs.

The CICIR's Guo said Gillard's visit showed the Sino-Australian relationship was becoming more mature and practical. "Gillard confirmed her stance of maintaining a stable bilateral relationship with China," said Guo. "The clear stance greatly bolstered both sides' confidence in enhancing bilateral ties and improved their mutual trust."

She said both China and Australia were optimistic when Kevin Rudd took office as Australian prime minister in 2007 because of his familiarity with Chinese issues. In 2009, however, bilateral relations dropped to a low point after China arrested four employees of the Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. on charges of commercial spying.

Han Feng, a researcher with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Gillard's visit showed her government's foreign policy adjustments. It was Gillard's most important foreign trip following her visit to the United States in March. Before coming to China, she visited Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The Gillard government would continue to maintain close ties with Washington, Han said, so as to guarantee its state security by relying on the U.S.-Australian military alliance. In the meantime, Australia hopes to emphasize East Asia's role, because the region is an economic focus for Australia.

In 2010, exports to East Asia accounted for 67.3 percent of Australia's total export volume, while its import volume from East Asia was 52.4 percent of the country's total. "Close economic relationships with East Asia, especially China, guarantee Australia's economic development," Han said.

Given their strong business ties, China's ongoing efforts to adjust its domestic economic development strategy to realize sustainable development would have implications for Australia's industries and economic development, he said.

In recent years, Australia has been actively involved in East Asian cooperation by participating in regional integration efforts such as the East Asia Summit, he said. China and Australia both are members of a number of cooperative mechanisms in the region. Their common interests demand the two sides enhance cooperation through high-level exchanges. Enhancing mutual understanding through social and cultural exchanges will also help to improve the stability of the bilateral relationship.

The two countries' cooperation at bilateral and regional levels would contribute to promoting regional peace and prosperity as well as global economic recovery, Han said.

Key Figures

- Sino-Australian trade in 2010: $88.09 billion

- Sino-Australian trade in the first quarter of 2011: $24.75 billion

- Chinese students in Australia in 2010: 167,000

- Chinese travelers to Australia in 2010: 450,000

- Share of Asian exports in Australia's total exports in 2010: 67.3 percent

- Share of Asian imports in Australia's total imports in 2010: 52.4 percent

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