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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 12812


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 20/05/2002

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 12812

I will visit East Timor on 19-20 May 2002 to attend the East Timor independence celebrations. This will be followed by a visit to the People';s Republic of China from 21-24 May marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Australia has played an important role in assisting East Timor on its path to independence. As well as the independence ceremony, I will attend the first sitting of the East Timor national parliament and the swearing in of the first East Timorese government. I will open the National Exhibition and Community Centre, which is an independence gift from Australia, and participate in ceremonies to establish diplomatic relations with East Timor. In addition, I expect to be able to sign the Timor Sea Treaty. In Dili, I will also meet Australian Defence Force personnel serving in the UN peacekeeping operation and visit an Australian aid project at Dili National Hospital.
My visit to China will be my third as Prime Minister, the most recent being last year's APEC leaders meeting in Shanghai. I look forward to renewing my contact with China';s leaders including President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji.
China is increasingly active as a regional and global player and I will be discussing a range of bilateral, regional and global developments of interest to both our countries.
Australia has a growing, multi-faceted and mutually beneficial relationship with China. Since 1996 we have established dialogues and agreements on defence, regional security and disarmament, human rights and consular issues. There are strong people-to-people links. But the bedrock of our relationship is economic. China is Australia';s third largest trading partner and fourth largest – and fastest growing – export market. My visit will explore the opportunities for further developing our relationship, including in the energy sector. I look forward to meeting business leaders and demonstrating support for Australian interests in China.

Transcript 12812