Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Beijing, capital of China, July 9, 2014. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an early conclusion to free-trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between China and Australia on Wednesday.
As he met with former Australian Prime Minister John Howard at the Great Hall of the People, Xi said the Chinese economy will grow in a sustained way and provide new opportunities for cooperation with Australia.
"The two sides should look at the future in a far-sighted way, bear in mind common interests, share the opportunities of development, take care of each other's major concerns, boost practical cooperation and accelerate the China-Australia FTA negotiations," said Xi.
During the meeting, he spoke highly of Howard's contribution to the bilateral relationship during his tenure and asked him to continue playing an active role in promoting China-Australia ties.
Howard said China's reform and development are beneficial for the whole world and that Australia shares extensive common interests with China.
Australia's economic growth has benefited from China's development, he added.