BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's five-day official visit to Australia starting Wednesday is expected to boost the development of China-Australia relations and cooperation, and push forward free trade and regional integration.
It will be his first visit to the Oceanic state in the southern hemisphere in his capacity as Chinese premier. After that, he will visit New Zealand.
TO ALIGN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES
Li is expected to seek cooperation spaces for common growth with Australia, in accordance with China's updated economic outlook and blueprint from the just concluded "two sessions" -- the annual gatherings of National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
With an extensive common ground and huge potential in cooperation, Australia has been an important economic and trade partner of China. Meanwhile, China has for years ranked top among Australia's trade partners, as its largest exports market and source of imports and investment.
The two sides have seen deepening economic and trade ties as a result of a free trade deal since December 2015.
Liu Qing, head of the Asia-Pacific department at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS), believes the Chinese premier's visit will bring more opportunities to China-Australia cooperation.
"The two countries have highly complementary economies and development strategies," he said, expecting to see an alignment between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Australia's ambitious development plan for its north.
Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo said recently that Australian businesses have a keen interest in and want to be part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
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