Australian Defence Minister to visit China

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-22 09:27:02|Editor: zh
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CANBERRA, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Christopher Pyne, Australia's Minister for Defence, has announced he will visit China for the first time during an official trip through Asia.

Pyne departed for his six-day trip on Tuesday, during which time he will visit China, Singapore and Japan.

The visit to China comes following an invitation from Chinas Minister of National Defense, General Wei Fenghe, after the pair met in Singapore in 2018.

Pyne said in a statement that the defence relationship with China was key to security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Government is committed to maintaining a long-term constructive relationship with China, founded on shared interests and mutual respect China and Australias success will go hand-in-hand, he said.

In addition to holding talks with his Chinese counterpart, Pyne will also meet with several other Chinese officials to discuss security and bilateral issues.

Prior to arriving in China, Pyne will visit Japan to address future opportunities for the two countries to cooperate with Takeshi Iwaya, Japan's Minister for Defense.

His trip will conclude in Singapore where he is due to meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and deliver a keynote address at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) Fullerton Forum.

Much of the trip will focus on building on the commitment to regional peace made by PM Scott Morrison in his speech to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Port Moresby in November 2018.

"We embrace free trade, global engagement and an international system where we agree to rules, stick to them and honour our commitments. We embrace an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. Because shrinking into ourselves will never work," Morrison said at the time.