The meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, should serve as a harbinger for the mending of the damaged bilateral relations between the two countries.
Just as President Xi said in the talks, China and Australia are both important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and they need to improve, uphold and further develop their relationship, which not only serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples but also helps to promote peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
Xi said that there are no fundamental conflicting interests between China and Australia. Instead, the two countries have a traditional people-to-people friendship, highly complementary economic structures, and shared commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
Indeed, the “potential illicit Chinese political influence” Australia has galvanised to counter the “Chinese military presence” in the South China Sea that some Australian politicians consider to be a potential threat to the country’s national security is nothing but a pretext some Australian politicians have fabricated to follow the strategy of the United States to contain the rise of China.
These politicians have turned a blind eye to the fact that it is not in the national interest of Australia for it to blindly follow the strategy of the US in its geopolitical game.
As a result of their blinkered view of relations, trade between the two countries has been impaired, and Australian enterprises engaged in trade with China have suffered. China’s trade with Australia has also suffered. No wonder, the damaged bilateral relations, as President Xi said, are the last thing China wants to see.
It is natural for countries with different political systems and cultures to have differences and disagree on some issues as far as the international situation or global governance is concerned. What is of consequence though is into what perspective politicians put such differences and disagreements.
China has consistently maintained that it pursues a peaceful development path. It is natural for China to modernise its military as all countries do. It is disingenuous of some Western politicians to cry in alarm about a “China threat”. That is all much ado about nothing.
It has been five years since relations between Australia and China met with difficulties. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, which should be an opportunity for endeavours on both sides to mend their relations.
For Australia, it is important to think about how it can well manage the differences and disagreements between the two countries and not let them stand in the way of improving political trust between them, and thereafter gradually bring bilateral ties onto the right track.
An Editorial published in The ChinaDaily.com Nov 16 2022