SUBANG, Malaysia, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan met here Wednesday with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne on the sidelines of the Third ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Plus.
The two sides pledged to promote bilateral defense cooperation.
Chang congratulated Payne on becoming the first female defense minister in Australia's history.
He said Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to Australia in November, 2014, upgrading the two countries' ties into comprehensive strategic partnership, which provided a clear path for the long-run development of the relations between the two armies.
He said in recent years, the Chinese and Australian armies have made frequent high-level exchanges and interactions, adding that the strategic negotiations have been pragmatic and efficient, the cooperation in joint exercises and trainings has been smooth, the military communications like mutual visits of navy vessels have been active, and the relations between the two armies have developed healthily and stably.
Chang said in the future, China would like to make joint efforts with the Australian side to maintain mutual exchanges among defense and military leaders. He said China is keen to invite Payne to visit China next year, steadily promote the communication and cooperation between the two armies in professional areas like peacekeeping, army training, humanitarian rescue and relief, strengthen personnel exchanges like communication between middle and young age officers, and two-way visit and learning between students.
Chang clarified the truth and China's stand on the issue of South China Sea and the freedom of navigation, hoping that the Australian side could adhere to an objective and fair stand and distinguish the right and wrong, carefully cope with related issues, and jointly maintain the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Payne said the cooperation between the Australian and Chinese armies in all areas has developed comprehensively, and the upcoming 18th defense strategic consultation between the armies of the two countries fully proved the width and depth of their ties.
Australia would like to continue maintaining the good trend of the development of the ties of the two armies, further strengthen the communication and cooperation in areas including navy, peacekeeping, personnel exchange and so on.
She said Australia doesn't hold position or take side in the South China Sea disputes.