Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcoming ceremony for Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 30, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)
China is looking forward to a China-Australia free trade agreement being signed this year, President Xi Jinping said when meeting with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Monday.
"The two sides should work to sign and approve the free trade agreement this year and implement it as soon as possible, as it can act as a new accelerator for economic cooperation," Xi told Cosgrove, who is making his first state visit to China.
A closer China-Australia relationship not only benefits the two nations but also the Asia-Pacific region, Xi said, assuring Cosgrove that he is ready to maintain close communication with him and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to ensure the smooth development of ties.
The two sides should increase interaction between their governments, legislatures and political parties, Xi said.
The president highlighted energy and resources, agriculture and farming, and infrastructure as sectors that would particularly benefit from cooperative projects.
Xi also expressed hope for more people-to-people interaction between the two countries.
Cosgrove arrived in China on Wednesday and is scheduled to leave on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the governor-general attended the opening ceremony of the 2015 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in south China's Hainan Province.
During Monday's meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Cosgrove said the BFA conference was a success, which once again proved the vitality of the Asia-Pacific region.