BRISBANE - President Xi Jinping arrived in Brisbane on Friday night at the start of a busy timetable for his first visit to Oceanian countries since taking office in March 2013.
He is scheduled to attend the ninth G20 summit this weekend in the Australian city and pay state visits to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji fromSunday to Nov 23.
At the G20 summit, Xi is expected to work with world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on passing the BrisbaneAction Plan.
This aims to shore up the bloc's commitments to short- and medium-term measures to raise the level of G20 output by at least 2 per cent above the currently projected level in the next five years.
Xi's visits to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji are widely perceived as having historical significance for China's interaction with the three countries and the region.
He said in a written statement on arrival inBrisbane, "Despite our separate locations in the northern and southern hemispheres, China and Australia have a long history of friendly exchanges.
"Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1972, the bilateral relations have made significant progress. Today, the two countries maintain close strategic cooperation in the political, business, cultural and other areas as well as multilateral affairs.
"With respective advantages, China and Australia complement each other and have a broader prospect of cooperation."
Xi added, "I look forward to close coordination with the Australian leaders at the ninth G20 summit and working with leaders of other member states to push forward global economic governance and create a favourable international environment for long-term, sound and steady growth of the world economy."
The president wrote in Australia's Financial Review newspaper on Friday, "As a Chinese saying goes, 'Even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations.' Despite the geographical distance between us, China and Australia have been closely linked by history and reality."
In a written welcoming address to world leaders, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: "China's remarkable economic development has propelled it to becoming our largest trading partner and a significant investor. I look forward to discussions with President Xi on strengthening ties, including through a free trade agreement."
China's Ambassador to Australia, Ma Zhaoxu, said, "Xi's trip to Australia will deepenmutual trust, expand cooperation and cement friendship. It will lift the China-Australia strategic partnership to a new level.
"The Australian government and all sectors of society have pinned high hopes on Xi's visit, expecting it to result innewoutcomes for bilateral cooperation on trade and at the people-to-people level,"Ma added.
Xi will meet Australian leaders and give key speeches, including an address to a joint session of the Australian Parliament. A series of bilateral agreements in areas such as investment, finance, energy and mineral resources, education and infrastructure are also expected.
Han Feng, deputy director of the National Institute of International Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, "The Sino-Australian relationship has entered a critical era, and bilateral cooperation has become the mainstream for bilateral ties.
"A free trade agreement between China and Australia could present both with a good opportunity and a new platformfor deepening cooperation."