BEIJING Australia is hoping to see trilateral naval exercises with China and the United States and is pursuing a new strategic partnership with Asia's biggest economy, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Tuesday.
Gillard, speaking in Beijing at a trade forum, said Australia was seeking more cooperation with China in clean energy and emissions trading.
Gillard said defense cooperation between China and Australia was likely to be strengthened, nearly three years after the two countries held bilateral naval drills, and said that would help bring stability to the region.
"Over time, we would like to see this extended to trilateral naval exercises including the United States," she said at an Australia China Economic and Trade Forum in Beijing.
Australia has positioned itself as the strongest U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific region and it is also seeking firmer defense ties with China.
With China and Australia due to start direct trading between their currencies this week, Gillard also called for a more broad-based economic relationship and more diversified investment.
China and Australia would announce plans for a new partnership framework after a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang later on Tuesday, Gillard said.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Writing by Fayen Wong; Editing by Robert Birsel)