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Subjects: Australia-China Relationship

RUDD:á President Hu, Prime Minister Howard, distinguished guests, one and all.

It's 35 years since the Australia-China relationship began and it's now more than 30 years since
China's economic reform program began, or almost. And it's now more than 20 years since I first
went to work in China myself.

Your Excellency, the changes we have seen in China over that period of time have been
extraordinary. When I first started studying Chinese language and history, Chairman Mao was still
alive, the Cultural Revolution was still on, Deng Xiaoping had not returned to the political stage
in China and China's economy was about the same size as Australia's.

Once again, Mr President, the changes we have seen in China over that time have simply been
extraordinary. China has now become a great global economic power. China has now lifted 400 million
of its own people out of poverty. China has now become a respected member in the international
commity of nations. And China, as the Prime Minister just mentioned, will have the honour next year
of hosting the Olympics.

These are no small achievements for the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. After 100 years of
foreign invasion and occupation, after the traumas of a civil war, after the traumas of the
Cultural Revolution, facing the daily challenge of feeding, clothing and housing one quarter of
humanity, these are no small achievements. If the great Chinese reformers of the 19th century were
alive today - Kang Youwei, Tan Sitong, Yan Fu, Sun Yat-sen - they would be staggered by the China
of the beginning of the 21st century.

Mr President, the challenge we face together is how to turn this Asia-Pacific century into a
permanently Pacific century. This is becoming a century of prosperity for all our peoples. Our
challenge is to ensure that it remains a century of peace for all our peoples. My Labor
predecessors have been engaged in this great enterprise over many decades. Gough Whitlam had the
courage and the vision to recognise China when it was not politically popular in this country to do
so. Bob Hawke deepened that relationship and extended it multilaterally with the establishment of
APEC in 1989. Paul Keating took that APEC vision further and elevated it to a Heads of Government
meeting, bringing together for the first time in a pan-regional forum our great friend and ally,
the United States, and our great friend and partner, China, into a common body, one dedicated to
peace, one dedicated to prosperity across our region.

Mr President, our common future in this region hangs so much on your country's future relationship
with the United States. I spoke with President Bush this morning. He told me of his good working
relationship which he has with you. Mr President, the future of your working relationship with the
President of the United States is a matter of great and common interest for us all across the
Asia-Pacific region. On it turns so much.

Bilaterally, the Australia-China relationship has gone from strength to strength and it is a credit
to both sides of Australian politics that it has done so. There will always be differences between
us, that is normal and natural in the bilateral relations between states. But our challenge, Mr
President, is to build on our common challenges and our common opportunities. The common economic
opportunities we face and embrace through the future of APEC, the future of our bilateral FTA
negotiations, the future of the global trade liberalisation round, DOHA. Embracing our common
business challenges. Mr President, in this room today, I see gathered here a who's who of
Australian business. You have our great resources companies, you have BHP, you have Woodside, you
have Rio. You have our great financial houses, our banks, our institutions, the ANZ, Macquarie and
others. There are companies which have long invested in your country going back many, many years
like News Corporation.

We also face common environmental challenges. The great economic and moral challenge of our
generation which is climate change. And similarly, common security challenges and dealing with the
continued threat of terrorism.

Mr President, in our country we are enabled enormously in rising to these challenges nationally
through the participation of the great Australian-Chinese community. We are blessed in this country
by their contribution to our economy, to our culture, to our society and Mr President, to our food,
and they are welcome, welcome guests indeed.

Mr President, if I might conclude my remarks with some words of personal welcome to yourself, as
our honoured guest in this country.

(Translation of Chinese language remarks follows)

President Hu, on behalf of my wife and myself, I want to extend some personal words of welcome to
you on your visit to Australia.

Your Excellency, together with all our friends from China here with us today, you have many, many
friends here in Australia - many, many friends, many, many real friends. You are all most welcome

Together with my wife and little daughter, I went to work in Beijing in the 1980s. My wife and I
have a particular love for Beijing - we love the feeling of Beijing, we love the people of Beijing
and of course its culture. Twenty years later, the little girl that we took to Beijing, this April
married a young man from the Australian Chinese community. My son has already been to Shanghai's
Fundan University to study. I also have a little boy (our youngest) who is in his early years of
high school. He is really, really naughty, he doesn't like doing his homework. But he has already
begun his study of Chinese.

Mr President, my understanding is you were born in the Chinese province of Anhui. Anhui province is
a very beautiful place. The scenery is beautiful. Historically, it has also been a very poor part
of China. For this reason, I recognise why both you and your government are supporters of a policy
for the economic development of all of China - including all its regions. From where I stand, this
is a good policy direction.

Mr President, you are in our country as our most honoured guest. I hope you have an opportunity to
take a break while you are here to look at some of our scenic spots, to take in some of our
beautiful scenery and our beautiful cities.

(End of translation)

President Hu, may I wish you and your party every success in Australia. Can I join the Prime
Minister in welcoming your gift of pandas to Australia. Mr President, should my party be successful
in the next election, we would also welcome pandas coming to my home city of Brisbane.

And if I could conclude, your Excellency, by saying that we, all Australians, from all traditions
of politics, from all sections of our society, hope and wish that your visit to our country will be
a truly successful one and as Mr Howard said before, build a new chapter in the Australia-China
relationship. Thank you, your Excellency.