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Chinese President addresses Australian Parliament
November 17, 2014, 5:34 am

“Neither turbulence nor war serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people," Xi said in a speech to Australia’s Parliament in Canberra on 17 November 2014 [Xinhua]

“Neither turbulence nor war serves the fundamental interests of the Chinese people,” Xi said in a speech to Australia’s Parliament in Canberra on 17 November 2014 [Xinhua]

In an address to a joint sitting of the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded the deepening of trade and economic ties with Australia.

“The China and Australia relationship should be more “visionary, broad-minded and set more ambitious goals. We have every reason to go beyond a commercial partnership to a strategic partnership,” said Xi.

“China has always seen Australia as an important partner. Two-way trade has grown to $136.4 billion in 2013,” Xi noted, after congratulating Australia on hosting a “fruitful, memorable G-20 summit.”

China and Australia have completed negotiations on a multi-billion dollar free trade agreement on Monday. Trade Ministers of the two nations will be signing the agreement later on Monday. The announcement capped nine years of bilateral FTA talks. China has now become Australia’s largest trading partner, export market and source of imports.

China has been Australia’s largest trade partner for the past five consecutive years. In 2013, Australian exports to China rose to over $100 billion.

“While China and Australia are oceans apart, contact between our two countries has a long history. In 2013, China and Australia announced a strategic partnership which was a significant milestone,” Xi told Australian lawmakers on Monday.

Xi, on Monday, also sought to reassure Australia of China’s commitment to peace in the Asia Pacific region.

“China has a population of more than 1.3 billion. It is like the big guy in the crowd. We Chinese cherish peace and the Chinese nation has always been a peace-loving one. History shows that countries that attempt to develop through force invariably fail,” said Xi.

China has resolved territorial disputes with twelve out of fourteen neighbours through friendly consultations, Xi pointed out to Australian lawmakers.

“China welcomes Australia to play more constructive role in Asia Pacific region ,” said Xi.

Australia is struggling to maintain balance between traditional security ties with the US and growing economic and trade ties with China.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said earlier if Beijing can ensure global transparency and governance standards, Australia will join the China-led new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Abbott said his government will continue discussions with the Chinese government about taking part in the bank despite it not signing a memorandum of understanding with China last month.

 

TBP

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