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China: Australia should look beyond the nations' differences

BEIJING — A senior Chinese official says China hopes Australia will continue to look beyond the countries' ideological differences and focus on bilateral business ties and other forms of co-operation .

Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang was responding to comments by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that China can reach its full economic potential only if it embraces democracy.

Zheng told journalists Tuesday that Australia and its largest trading partner had "gone beyond our ideological differences." He said China hopes that Australia will "continue to uphold this spirit."

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Australia and New Zealand beginning Wednesday. Zheng said China hopes to enhance free trade agreements with both nations and promote co-operation in science, technology and innovation.

Zheng said China wishes to "make China-Australia business co-operation more diverse and more sustainable."

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