CANBERRA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard observes that the rise of China has been "good for the world."
Addressing the Third Sino-Australasian Entrepreneurs Summit on Monday, Howard, who served as Australian prime minister between 1996 and 2007, said that the economies of Australia and China complement each other well.
He said that the rise of China has been "good for the Chinese people and good for the world," dismissing suggestions that Australia should phase out its coal industry, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
"There is no doubt that the resource trade between Australia and China is and will continue for many decades into the future to be enduringly important to the economic links between our two countries," he said.
"It is passing strange to me that some Australians talk about phasing out coal."
"It is one of our great assets ... (iron ore and coal) exports form the bedrock of our trading relationship with China."
Howard was joined in addressing the conference by former trade minister Andrew Robb, who helped negotiate the China-Australia free trade agreement.
Saying that he is optimistic about Sino-Australian relations, Robb noted that good trade relationships were "the forerunner" of good general relationships.