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President Xi Jinping: Open up a More Splendid New Chapter In China-Australia Relations

2014-11-15 12:36

On November 14, 2014, a signed article titled “Open up a More Splendid New Chapter In China-Australia Relations” by Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, was published in Australian newspaper The Financial Review. The full text is as follows:

The magnificent land of Australia has attracted world-wide attention with its exotic charming landscape, dynamic economy, vibrant people and diversified culture.

I have visited Australia four times since 1988. Each time left me with a new understanding of the country and a deep impression of the profound friendship between the Chinese and Australian people. I look forward to my fifth trip to this land during which I will pay a state visit to Australia and attend the Ninth G20 Summit in Brisbane.

As a Chinese saying goes, "Even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations." Despite the geographical distance between us, China and Australia have been closely linked by history and reality. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 42 years ago, our relations have traversed an extraordinary journey, making us good friends and strategic partners and bringing real benefits to our two peoples.

China and Australia have maintained close contacts at both the top and other levels and deepened mutual trust. We have established over 30 inter-governmental consultation mechanisms, including the annual meeting between our prime ministers, the foreign and strategic dialogue and strategic economic dialogue. There have been active exchanges between our legislatures, political parties and militaries, and we have maintained good communication and coordination on multilateral issues.

China and Australia have achieved fruitful results in practical business cooperation and deepened converging interests. Bilateral trade has expanded 1,500-fold in the past 42 years. China is now Australia's largest trading partner, export market and source of imports. For every 100 tonnes of iron ore imported to China, 54 tonnes come from Australia. For every three AU dollars Australia earns from export, one dollar comes from China. Export to China has increased Australia's household income by over 13,400 AU dollars each year on average, enough to buy each household a new car a year. Meanwhile, the premium dairy, meat and wine products of Australia are increasingly served at the dining tables of Chinese households.

China and Australia have engaged in vibrant people-to-people exchanges and deepened bilateral friendship. The two countries have successfully held in each other's side the year of culture, which has fostered growing "Australia zeal" in China and "China zeal" in Australia. China is the largest source of tourist receipts for Australia while Australia is the second largest destination of outbound Chinese students. In 2013 the mutual visits between our two countries exceeded 1.5 million, and more than 200,000 Chinese students are studying in Australia.

The growing China-Australia relations have offered us many widely told stories. The Australian eye specialist Peter Gramham, known as a "Lightbringer" visited China in 1991, during which he performed operations for several patients with eye disease and restored their eye sight. In 2009 and 2013 when Victoria and New South Wales of Australia were hit by severe bush fires, the Chinese side lent a helping hand by providing prompt satellite data about the fires. It is with these heartwarming notes our people have struck in their exchanges that we have composed a splendid movement about China-Australia friendship.

As an ancient Chinese philosopher wrote, "A tree has to strike a firm root before it can flourish. A river has to have a fully dredged source before it can flow unceasingly far." The most important reason that China and Australia, an Eastern culture in the Northern Hemisphere and a Western culture in the Southern, have been able to bring bilateral relations to the current height is that they have followed the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and promoted mutual trust through dialogue, sought win-win progress through cooperation and cemented friendship through exchanges. This is proven to be the right path for the development of China-Australia relations, which has withstood the test of history and won the support of the people. It is therefore important that we choose the right path forward and stick to it unswervingly as we move ahead.

At the current stage, China is comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up, promoting rule of law on all fronts and making relentless efforts to achieve the "two centenary goals" (i.e. doubling our GDP and per capita urban and rural income of 2010 and completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2020, and turning China into a harmonious modern socialist country that is strong, prosperous, democratic and culturally advanced by the middle of the century) and the Chinese dream of great renewal of the Chinese nation. Likewise, Australia is speeding up economic restructuring and industrial upgrading to build a stronger and more prosperous country. On international and regional issues, our two countries have increasingly broader common ground and common understanding. Suffice it to say that with strong internal strength for growth, great strategic significance and a solid foundation, China-Australia cooperation will enjoy an even brighter prospect.

I look forward to having an in-depth exchange of views with the Australian leaders and friends of all sectors during my forthcoming visit, to further tap into our cooperation potential, deepen friendship and jointly write a more splendid new chapter in China-Australia relations.

We need to enhance mutual understanding to reinforce the bond of mutual trust. To enhance mutual trust, we must live in harmony without seeking uniformity and pursue common ground while reserving differences, thus setting a good example of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between countries of different cultural traditions, political systems and stages of development.

We need to deepen practical cooperation to reinforce the bond of common interests. While striving to break new grounds in our traditional areas of cooperation like energy and resources, we should work to create new stimulus of growth in bilateral cooperation in finance, infrastructure development, agriculture and animal husbandry by bringing into full play our economic complementarity. This way, we can better facilitate our respective effort to grow economy and improve people's livelihood.

We need to encourage people-to-people exchanges to reinforce the cultural bond between our people. It is important to expand exchanges and cooperation in education, culture, tourism and between the youth, and tell the China story and Australia story well so that the China-Australia friendship will take root deep in the hearts of our people.

We need to step up strategic communication to reinforce the bond of multilateral cooperation. The Chinese side stands ready to work with the Australian side to strengthen communication and coordination in international and regional mechanisms, and deal with traditional and non-traditional security issues of all kinds to jointly safeguard and promote peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

An important agenda item for my visit to Australia is to attend the Ninth G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane.

Like Australia, China has also been in the international spotlight this November, as we have hosted the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. China will work in concert with Australia and other APEC member economies to discuss ways to "Shape the Future Through Asia-Pacific Partnership", the theme of the Meeting, and achieve positive outcomes in pushing forward regional economic integration, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthening infrastructure and connectivity building in all aspects.

I look forward to building on the good momentum of cooperation between China and Australia, and working with Prime Minster Tony Abbott and leaders of other G20 member countries to formulate a comprehensive G20 growth strategy, develop new areas of growth through economic reform, investment in infrastructure and building an open world economy, to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy.

Bathing in the pervasive sunshine in the Southern Hemisphere of November, the Australian continent is brimming with vigor and vitality. China-Australia friendship and cooperation has embarked on a new journey. So long as we work hand-in-hand and redouble our efforts, our relations will surely embrace an even brighter future!

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