BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday congratulated the new Australian prime minister and pledged to maintain close ties with the new government.
"We congratulate Ms. Julia Gillard on becoming Australian Prime Minister," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular briefing on Thursday.
Qin's comments came hours after Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd as the Australian Prime Minister. The 48-year-old lawyer is the nation's first woman prime minister.
Qin appreciated Rudd's commitment to developing friendly ties with China after he took office in 2007.
The spokesman said it was the consensus of the Australian ruling and opposition parties and social circles to develop ties with China, which served the common interests of both countries.
Recognizing the sound momentum of bilateral ties, Qin said China would like to work with the Australian government and social communities to advance all-round cooperation and benefit the two peoples.