Ties between China and Oceanian countries enter new era

Updated: 2014-12-19 10:13


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CANBERRA -- The development of relations between China and Oceanian countries have entered a new era after Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to this part of the world in November this year.

His visits to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, together with his attendance at the G20 summit in Brisbane and the meetings with some leaders of the Pacific Island countries in Nadi have been fruitful in promoting economic ties and political trust between China and those countries.

During his state visits to Australia and New Zealand, the Chinese president and the leaders of the two Oceanian countries agreed to upgrade their diplomatic ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

China and Australia also announced the practical conclusion of their negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA).

"It is a natural result for the two sides to jointly decide to elevate bilateral ties," Xi said during his talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

"The two sides should proceed from the new historic point to expand exchanges, strengthen dialogues, respect each other, forge ahead and deepen cooperation, thus bringing more benefits to peoples in both countries and contributing more to the peace and prosperity in the region and the whole world at large," Xi said.

For his part, Abbott said President Xi's visit bears historic significance and the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between Australia and China marks a higher level of their bilateral relations.

The practical conclusion of bilateral FTA talks "is a big event worth celebrating in our trade and economic relations," Xi told Abbott.

Echoing the Chinese president, the Australian prime minister said the completion of the FTA negotiations is very exciting and displays the extensiveness and strong momentum of bilateral cooperation.

The FTA announcement was welcomed in Australia with strikingly warmth by all walks of life as Greg Sheridan, chief foreign affairs editor at The Australian newspaper, put it "The free trade agreement with China has the potential to be transformative for Australia. It locks the two nations much more closely together. "

Paul Kelly, The Australian's Editor-at-Large, was impressed by President Xi's speech at the Australian Parliament House.

"In his speech to the Australian parliament, President Xi Jinping has planted Australia with his dream for a renewed China while in practical terms the bilateral free trade agreement is unprecedented for both nations," he said.

It is a rare case in Australia that media with different backgrounds are in such a uniformity and are so positive on the Chinese leader and the China-Australia relations.

China and New Zealand also decided to lift the relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership which was announced after talks between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key as well as a meeting between the Chinese president and Governor-General Jerry Mateparae.

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