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Hu Jintao Meets with Australian Prime Minister

On the afternoon of April 18, 2005, President Hu Jintao met with Australian Prime Minister John Howard at the Great Hall of the People.

Hu Jintao said that China-Australia relations have achieved new progress in recent years with remarkable results achieved in the exchanges and cooperation in various fields. Both sides decided to start the negotiation on the Free Trade Agreement. Australia acknowledges the full market economy status of China, which is conducive to widening and deepening the cooperation in the field of economy and trade and enhancing the economic development and prosperity of both countries. It is hoped that both sides could promote the free trade process steadily in the principles of mutual understanding and accommodation, flexibility and pragmatism as well as mutual benefit so as to open up broader prospects for the comprehensive cooperation between China and Australia. Hu Jintao sang high praise for the Australian government's stance to adhere to the one-China policy and oppose the independence of Taiwan. He hoped that the Australian side would continue to support the reunification cause of China.

Hu Jintao stressed that the Chinese government has always treated China-Australia relations from the strategic height and is willing to make joint efforts with Australia to further enhance mutual trust, broaden common consensus, deepen cooperation and further the comprehensive cooperation between China and Australia.

Howard said that presently the political, economic and trade relations between China and Australia are developing smoothly. Before long the governments of the two countries signed the historical memorandum of understanding on starting the negotiation of China-Australia free trade agreement. Meanwhile, Australia acknowledges the full market economy status of China. The Australian side will take active actions to participate in the negotiation of free trade agreement and work with China to promote bilateral relations and the economic and trade cooperation. The Australian government will continue to uphold the one-China policy. The Australian side is willing to continuously strengthen the coordination and cooperation with China in the international affairs.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and other officials were present at the meeting.

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