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Friday, 24 October 2003
Page: 21697

HIS EXCELLENCY Mr HU JINTAO (10:21 AM) —(Translation) The Hon. Neil Andrew, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Hon. Paul Calvert, President of the Senate, the Hon. John Howard, Prime Minister, distinguished members of the federal parliament, ladies and gentlemen: I am delighted to have this opportunity of coming to the Parliament House of Australia to meet with you and address such a distinguished audience.

Let me begin by expressing, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, my best wishes to you and, through you, to the courageous and hardworking Australian people. Though located in different hemispheres and separated by high seas, the people of China and Australia enjoy a friendly exchange that dates back centuries. The Chinese people have all along cherished amicable feelings about the Australian people. Back in the 1420s, the expeditionary fleets of China's Ming dynasty reached Australian shores. For centuries, the Chinese sailed across vast seas and settled down in what was called `the southern land', or today's Australia. They brought Chinese culture here and lived harmoniously with the local people, contributing their proud share to Australia's economy, society and thriving pluralistic culture.

More than three decades have passed since China and Australia established diplomatic relations. Our bilateral ties have stood the tests of time and international vicissitudes and made steady headway. To consolidate and develop its all-round cooperation with Australia is a key component of China's external relations. We have always viewed our friendly ties with Australia from a strategic and long-term perspective. To cultivate a deeper and all-round cooperation between the two countries is the common aspiration of the two governments and peoples.

This afternoon I will have an in-depth exchange of views with Prime Minister Howard on bilateral ties and regional and international issues of mutual interest. We will also sign a series of bilateral documents on cooperation. This shows that China-Australia cooperation in various fields is going deeper and broader. I am convinced that China and Australia will shape a relationship of all-round cooperation that features a high degree of mutual trust, long-term friendship and mutual benefit—a relationship that makes our two peoples both winners.

How should countries go about their relations with one another in this complicated and diverse world? It is a question that is very much on the minds of many people. We are of the view that, for smooth conduct of state-to-state relations and for lasting peace and common prosperity, all countries should act in compliance with the following principles. First, politically they should respect each other, seek common ground while putting aside differences and endeavour to expand areas of agreement. Our world is a diverse place, like a rainbow of many colours. Civilisations, social systems and development models, different as they may be, should respect one another, should learn from each other's strong points, amid competition and comparison, and should achieve common development by seeking common ground while shelving differences. By mutual respect politically we mean that the political system and the path of political development chosen by the people of each country should be respected.

Democracy is the common pursuit of mankind, and all countries must earnestly protect the democratic rights of their people. In the past 20 years and more since China embarked on a road of reform and opening up, we have moved steadfastly to promote political restructuring and vigorously build democratic politics under socialism while upholding and improving our systems of people's congresses, multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party, and regional ethnic autonomy. We have advanced the process of scientific and democratic decision making and promoted grassroots democracy, protection of citizens' rights and freedoms, democratic elections, and democratic decision making, democratic management and democratic supervision by the people in our country's political, economic, cultural and social life according to law.

We have stepped up the building of the legal system in China, making sure that there are laws to go by, that the laws must be observed and are strictly enforced and that violators must be prosecuted. As a result, the enthusiasm, initiative and creativeness of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups have been galvanised, providing an immense driving force for the country's development. In future, we will continue to move forward our political restructuring in a vigorous and cautious manner as our national conditions merit, improve our democratic institutions and legal system and build a socialist political civilisation.

True, China and Australia are different in social systems. This is the result of different choices made by our people in light of their national conditions and the two countries' different historical evolution. As China-Australia relations prove, so long as they understand and treat each other as equals and respect their respective national conditions and circumstances, countries with different social systems may very well become partners of friendly cooperation with constantly increased common ground.

Second, economically they should complement and benefit one another, deepen their cooperation and achieve common development. With economic globalisation developing in such depth, no country can expect to achieve economic development goals without going for effective economic and technological cooperation with other countries and actively participating in international division of labour, bringing in capital knowledge, technology and managerial expertise needed for development at home and in return providing products and know-how with comparative advantages for the development of others. This is how countries achieve common development through mutually beneficial cooperation.

Right now, China has entered into a new stage of building a well-off society in an all-round way and accelerating the socialist modernisation drive. We are engaged in developing a socialist market economy and opening the country still wider in more areas, with a higher level of sophistication. While speeding up strategic economic restructuring, we are vigorously implementing the strategies of revitalising China through science and education, of sustainable development, of development of the west and of renewal of the old industrial base of north-east China. China enjoys a vast market, abundant labour, social and political stability and a vibrant momentum for development. A stronger and more developed China will bring growth opportunities and tangible benefits to other countries in the world.

China and Australia are highly complementary economically. Blessed with vast territory and rich resources, Australia boasts economic and technological successes. The potential for China-Australia economic cooperation is immense. Past, present or future, we see Australia as our important economic partner. China-Australia trade has grown rapidly in recent years, from $US87 million in the early years of our diplomatic relations to $US10.4 billion in 2002. China has become Australia's third largest trading partner and fourth largest export market and, in fact, the fastest growing one. Australia is China's ninth largest trading partner and biggest supplier of wool. Over the years China has purchased large amounts of iron ore and aluminium oxide from Australia, which has such energy and mineral riches. Last year the two countries signed a 25-year, $A25 billion deal on the LNG project in Guangdong, thus laying a solid foundation for our bilateral energy cooperation.

Also expanding steadily are the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, agriculture and animal husbandry. By June 2003 Australia had invested in a total of 5,600 projects in China, with an actual investment exceeding $US3.1 billion. China has invested in 218 projects in Australia, with a contractual value of $US450 million. We are ready to be your long-term and stable cooperation partner, dedicated to closer cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit. The trade and economic framework between China and Australia which will be signed today will mark the beginning of a brand-new stage of our trade and economic cooperation. I am convinced that this framework will help steer our bilateral cooperation in economic, trade and other fields to continuous new highs.

Third, culturally countries should step up exchanges and enhance understanding and mutual emulation. Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world, as we see today. The proud history, culture and traditions that make each country different are all part of human civilisation. Every nation, every culture, must have its strong points and advantages. All should respect one another, draw upon each other's strengths and strive to achieve common progress.

China has a 5,000-year civilisation. Its people, of 56 ethnic groups, have worked together to shape the magnificent Chinese culture. The Chinese culture belongs not only to the Chinese but also to the whole world. It has flourished not only through mutual emulation and assimilation among its various ethnic groups but also through interactions and mutual learning with other countries' cultures. With reform opening up and a modernisation drive pressing ahead in full swing, we are all the more eager to draw upon the useful achievements of all civilisations. We stand ready to step up cultural exchanges with the rest of the world in a joint promotion of cultural prosperity.

Cultural pluralism is a distinctive feature of Australian society, a feature that embodies ethnic harmony in this country. Just as the national anthem goes, Australian people have come across the seas. Cultural exchanges have long served as important bridges for enhanced understanding and deepened friendship between our two peoples. Last year was the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Australia. While Celebrate Australia 2002 delighted Shanghai citizens, Chinese performing artists had their debut in the famous Sydney Opera House. In recent years people-to-people exchanges between our two countries have grown rapidly, with annual visits well over 100,000. China is the biggest source country of foreign students in Australia now. We should continue to expand our cultural exchanges, giving fuller play to culture's role as the bridge and bond in the building of friendship between the two countries and their peoples.

Fourth, in security, countries should strengthen mutual trust, cooperate on an equal footing and endeavour to maintain peace. Peace and development remain the dominant themes of our times. Uncertainties affecting world peace and development have been on the rise. Traditional and non-traditional threats to security are mixed together, rendering some regions unstable and turbulent. Terrorism attacks from time to time and cross-boundary crimes have become more pronounced. How to meet these challenges, secure peace and development in the world and create a stable and harmonious homeland for all is a critical question that calls for serious consideration and effective solution.

China advocates a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation and strives to resolve disputes peacefully through dialogue and cooperation. We believe in democracy in international relations. The affairs of the world should be handled through consultation on an equal footing by all countries. Members of the international community should reaffirm their commitment to multilateralism and give full scope to the important role of the United Nations and its Security Council in maintaining world peace and security.

China and Australia respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and they stick to noninterference in each other's internal affairs and enjoy a growing mutual trust in the security field. Recent years have seen increasing exchanges between the two militaries, as evidenced by the annual defence strategic dialogue for six consecutive years and frequent port calls by naval ships of both countries. China and Australia have shared interests in keeping the South Pacific and Asia-Pacific stable, easing regional tensions and promoting peaceful settlement of hot-spot issues. We are both against terrorism and hope for stronger counter-terrorism cooperation. We are both key participants in the ARF and other regional security mechanisms. China welcomes and supports a constructive Australian role in regional and international affairs. We, on our part, will stick to our independent foreign policy of peace, acting forever as a strong defender of world peace and a persistent proponent of common development. We are ready to join Australia and other countries in cultivating a secure and reliable international environment of lasting stability.

Ladies and gentlemen, Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. The complete reunification of China at an early date is the common aspiration and firm resolve of the entire Chinese people. A peaceful solution to the Taiwan question serves the interests of all the Chinese people, including our compatriots on Taiwan. It also serves the common interests of all countries in the region, including Australia. The greatest threat to peace in the Taiwan Straits is the splittist activities by Taiwan independence forces. We are firmly opposed to Taiwan independence. The Chinese government and people look to Australia for a constructive role in China's peaceful reunification.

Ladies and gentlemen, there have been frequent exchanges between our two legislatures in recent years. The Speaker, the Hon. Neil Andrew, and many law-makers here have visited my country and have seen China's changes and progress first-hand. Here I would like to extend this invitation to all of you: we look forward to receiving more of you in China. Looking back, I am gratified to see the fruitful past of our relations. Looking forward, I feel confident in where the relationship is headed. Let us join hands in writing a more luminous new chapter of the China-Australia relationship of all-round cooperation. Thank you.

Members and senators rising and applauding, His Excellency Hu Jintao left the chamber.

The SPEAKER —Senators and members, may I, on your behalf, thank the President for his address and wish him and Madame Liu a very successful and enjoyable stay in Australia.