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Jointly Build A Bridge of Friendship and Mutual Understanding--Address by HE Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the 3rd China-Australia Forum

Jointly Build A Bridge of Friendship and Mutual Understanding

Address by HE Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu at the 3rd China-Australia Forum

(25 August, 2014 Sydney)

Minister Cai Mingzhao,

Mr Paul Fletcher

Mr Angelos Frangopoulos,

Mr Li Huaxin,

Friends from the media of China and Australia,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the 3rd China-Australia Forum. It is especially significant for media representatives of the two countries to discuss “media’s role in promoting China-Australia relations”. Let me first congratulate on the success of the forum and thank the Australian News Channel and the Information Office of the State Council of China.

China-Australia relations have made steady progress in the last 42 years Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides since the establishment of our diplomatic ties. In particular in recent years, China and Australia have built a strategic partnership. Our political mutual trust and practical cooperation across the board have been deepened. China has become Australia’s largest trading partner, largest export market, largest source of import, largest export market for service trade and largest source of tourism revenues. People-to-people links between the two countries have also been strong. There were 820,000 Chinese tourists visiting Australia and 730,000 Australian tourists visiting China in 2013. There were 220,000 Chinese students in Australia, making it the No.2 destination for Chinese students studying overseas.

The exchanges and mutual understanding between China and Australia have reached an unprecedented level. Australia is no longer a remote land for the Chinese. Australian dairy products, wines and beef are very popular among Chinese consumers. China, too, is no longer a faraway country for the Australians. Chinese has become the second most commonly used language in Australia. It is not surprising when someone greet you in Chinese in the streets of Sydney and Melbourne. It is a heartening sign that mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and Australian people have been growing.

I have been to Australia for almost one year since my appointment as the Chinese ambassador. I have visited many places and met many people in this country in the past year. I could feel that Australian people care about China and China-Australia relations greatly, they have a keen interest in China’s time-honored history and culture and they all hope for a better China-Australia relationship. Many Australian people wrote to me expressing their strong desire to know more about China. This being said, our two peoples’ perception and understanding of each other are far from being comprehensive and thorough due to our different histories, cultures and political systems. Sometimes there are even misunderstandings or misperceptions. There is still a long way to go before the two sides could have a thorough understanding of each other.

As a major means of spreading information and strengthening mutual perception, media has played a irreplaceable role in promoting the mutual understanding between the Chinese and Australian people and the bilateral relationship. Shortly after the forging of diplomatic ties between China and Australia, major media organizations of the two countries sent accredited correspondents to report each other’s countries. Chinese media, like the Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily, China Central Television, China Radio International, Guangming Daily and China News Service, have correspondents in Australia. Five Australian media organizations, including Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Fairfax Media Group and the Australia, have correspondents based in Beijing and Shanghai. Media coverage of the other side by both Chinese and Australian media is increasing fast. News about various aspects of China is seen on Australian TV and newspapers everyday. Australia has also become increasingly well-known by Chinese media and attracted more attention from Chinese internet users.

I believe that both Chinese and Australian media care about and support the development of China-Australia relations. I truly hope that our media could bear in mind the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and peoples and play a constructive role for the growth of this relationship.

I hope that our media could look at China-Australia relations in a positive and open manner and contribute to the development of this relationship and mutual understanding and trust between the two countries so that public opinion on China-Australia strategic partnership will be maturer and more reasonable.

I hope that our media could be fair and objective which is the lifeline of news. We have many differences due to our different national condition. How should we view these differences? I think we should respect facts and tell the truth. I hope the Chinese media could present a true picture of Australia to Chinese audiences and vice versa.

I hope that our media could strengthen exchanges and cooperation. Although having different angles and perspectives in reporting, Chinese and Australia media have broad shared interests and a common focus. They could learn from each other in an open mind for common progress. This forum offers us an excellent opportunity for this purpose.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia is responsible for enhancing the mutual understanding between China and Australia. We have opened Chinese social media accounts such as micro blog and we-chat to brief its 360,000 Chinese followers the latest development of this relationship and various aspects of the Australian society. We also plan to open English social media accounts to connect with the Australian people. The Embassy will always offer its help to the exchanges between media of our two countries.

The year of 2014 is a year of cooperation, progress and enterprise for China-Australia relations. President Xi Jinping will visit Australia for the Brisbane G20 Summit and a broader bilateral visit. It will be the first visit to Australia by the Chinese president in seven years and become a new milestone in China-Australia relations. As our relations face a historic opportunity, so do our media organizations. I hope you could take the opportunity to promote mutual understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation for a steady, mature and sound China-Australia strategic partnership.

Finally, I wish the China-Australia Forum a full success.

Thank you.

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