(27 November 2012, Canberra)
The Hon Craig Emerson, Minister for Trade,
The Hon Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition
Senators and Members,
Let me start by extending, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, a warm welcome to you to today's reception.
I also wish to sincerely thank you for your long-standing support to China-Australia relations and the Chinese Embassy.
In the 1970s, with great political wisdom and strategic courage, the then Chinese and Australian leaders, Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, took the important decision of opening diplomatic relations.
In the past 40 years, our relations have withstood the test of the changing international situation and achieved historic progress.
We have regular high-level exchanges and fruitful strategic dialogue, economic dialogue and defense consultations.
Our trade volume has increased by 1,000 times in 40 years.
Our people-to-people and cultural exchanges are gathering pace, with our first reciprocal "years of culture" held successfully.
For 40 years, our relations have braved the waves and made steady progress through twists and turns.
As Confucious said, one shall have no doubt at the age of 40.
So what legacy can we get from the maturing China-Australia relations turning 40 this year?
First, foresight and vision hold the key to the development of China-Australia relations.
Forty years ago, it was with foresight and vision that our older generation of leadership normalized bilateral relations.
Today, in the face of deepening globalization and regionalization, we must always view and handle our relations with a broad strategic vision and bear in mind the fundamental interests of the people.
Only by so doing can we keep China-Australia relations on the right track of development.
No matter how we frame our relationship, its strategic significance is beyond any doubt.
Second, win-win cooperation is the bedrock for the development of China-Australia relations.
China and Australia are highly complementary in industrial structure and natural reserve.
That makes us natural partners for win-win cooperation.
From the Channar iron ore project launched in 1987 to our joint effort to fight the global financial crisis, mutual benefit and win-win is always the defining feature of our cooperation.
China is now Australia's biggest trading partner.
The future growth of our relations hinges on increased convergence of interests and more diversified exchanges and cooperation.
As we move forward, our cooperation will go beyond the mining field and move into the agricultural field, labs and office buildings.
Third, mutual understanding provides the conditions for the development of China-Australia relations.
Only when we engage in exchanges can we get to know each other.
Only when we know each other well, can we understand each other well.
China is Australia's biggest source of international students and biggest market of inbound tourists by value.
Tens of thousands of "cultural bridges" have been built between us.
And Mandarin is the second most commonly used language in Australia, only after English.
More recently, an Australian journalist who posed questions at the press conferences of the 18th CPC National Congress became a hot figure on China's internet and was dubbed by Chinese netizens as "sister question".
Fourth, mutual respect and mutual trust is the prerequisite to the development of China-Australia relations.
China and Australia are separated by a long distance and have different cultures, national conditions and systems.
It is impossible for us to see eye to eye on everything.
It is important we respect each other as equals and seek common ground while reserving differences.
We need to respect each other's independent choice of path of development and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns.
Close economic links should be translated into political trust which in turn will spur our economic relations.
The 18th CPC National Congress has recently successfully concluded in Beijing.
It reviewed China's development in the past decade, and laid out plans for our future endeavours in all fields.
Domestically, China will continue to pursue scientific development, deepened reform and opening-up, speed up economic restructuring in pursuit of balanced, coordinated and sustainable development, and turn China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
On the diplomatic front, China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, uphold the strategy of win-win cooperation, engage in international affairs more actively, and play its due part as a responsible country.
China will stick to the policy of being a friend and partner to its neighbours, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with them and seek development in a way that will bring more benefits to neighbouring countries.
After the 18th Congress, the "China Express" will run more smoothly and steadily.
The Congress set a "double growth" target, namely doubling China's GDP and per capita income of 2010 by 2020.
And we will press ahead with the urbanization drive.
All this will give China greater staying power to achieve sustained and balanced development, and create ever more demand and cooperation opportunities for Australia.
Australia is the first Western country that has issued an "Asian century white paper".
It shows Australia's unique strategic perspective.
China and Australia share broad common interests and have no conflicts of fundamental interests.
Whether we can score even greater achievements in our cooperation depends on whether we can grasp our long-term and fundamental interests and set the stage for China-Australia relations to reach a new strategic height.
Confucius said, "without trust, the common people will have nothing to stand on".
China-Australia relations are being defined by understanding and cooperation.
The third key word "trust" is needed to achieve sustainable development.
In the next 40 years, China and Australia will become not only mutually beneficial business partners, but also mutually trusted good friends.
I have full confidence in our future.