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Premier Li Keqiang meets Australian PM in Beijing

Premier Li Keqiang has met with visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Beijing. The leaders agreed to deepen cooperation, especially in the fields of trade, tourism and innovation.

This is Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s first visit to China, since taking office in September last year. Turnbull is here for an annual China-Australia Prime Ministers’ meeting.

His host Premier Li Keqiang held a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

During the talks, the leaders praised the strides both countries had made in bilateral relations, and said they wanted to bring the ties to a greater height.

Premier Li complimented Turnbull’s efforts in strengthening trade links with China. Amid the backdrop of a global economic slowdown, Premier Li said closer ties between China and Australia are positive to the region and the whole world.

“Our two countries are both located in the Asia-Pacific Region. We are important cooperative partners. I have heard that your visit to Shanghai is very successful and there was a banquet attended by more than one thousand delegates. This indicates close friendship between China and Australia,” Premier Li said.

The presence of Turnbull in China is enhanced by over one thousand business people --they form Australia’s biggest-ever delegation.

The Australian PM said the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement which took effect in December, is fundamental to Australia’s development, as it removes trade barriers and opens up the markets. Two-way trade between the two sides totalled 150 billion Australian dollars, or $115 billion, in the last financial year.

Turnbull also said Australia is granting a 10-year visa to some Chinese nationals, seeking to boost visits to Down Under, which attracted more than one million Chinese tourists last year.

Premier Li and Turnbull also witnessed the signing of deals covering areas including technology, tourism, industrial parks, and mining.

China is now Australia’s largest trading partner, export market and source of imports. Australian Prime Minister and his huge business delegation are in Beijing to build on trade and investment opportunities, made possible by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The two sides want to establish a strong partnership that can stand the test of time.