2022-12-08 19:00


New spring for the China-Australia relationship

After a bitter winter, China-Australia relations finally are embracing a spring of new opportunities. On November 15, during the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Anthony Albanese, both leaders noted that China and Australia needed to cherish the commitment made when establishing diplomatic relations, rise above disagreements, respect each other and seek mutual benefit and win-win results. This has pointed the direction for the steady growth of the relationship, which is of great significance.

First, it is conducive for a steady development of our bilateral relations to reaffirm our original commitments to rising above differences, mutual respect and mutual benefit. Years ago when China-Australia relations have encountered headwinds and been in low ebb, a key question is how to take an objective and correct look at each other’s differences and divisions. Fifty years ago, the joint communique concerning the establishment of diplomatic relations stated clearly, “The two governments agree to develop their diplomatic relations, friendship and co-operation between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.” This shows that differences and divisions haven’t stopped the two countries from establishing diplomatic ties, nor have those stopped our relations from developing at a staggering speed.

In 2014, China and Australia announced the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, marking our relations on a higher stage. As a matter of fact, the development and improvement of China-Australia relations is to change ourselves for a better one rather than to change the other one. Diplomacy is often a continuation of internal affairs. China adopts the vision of harmony without uniformity, while Australia is rich in experience and practice with multiculturalism. Our visions coincide.

Second, China and Australia, as countries in the Asia-Pacific region, enjoy the mutual benefit to safeguard the regional peace and prosperity. After World War II, an iron curtain of Cold war descended across the European continent and further influenced the world. After the Cold War, people are all aspiring for peace and development, whereas the world is still suffering in wars and conflicts. The Ukraine crisis this year is not only harmful to European stability but also to global energy security, food security and economies. As the most powerful military organisation in Europe, NATO, with its expansion, can’t shift the blame in the crisis as a conflict creator rather than a peacemaker. This offered us a profound lesson. We will see an endless flow of disastrous aftermath if anyone tries to implant the NATO model in the Asia-Pacific region. Any attempt to patch up a NATO replica in the Asia- Pacific will only sabotage the region’s security, stoke divisions, stir up conflicts and severely harm the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. With lessons drawn from Europe’s mistake, the Asia-Pacific region shall not take the old tragic road. The only way out is to build an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future.

Third, China-Australia co-operation will bring more public goods to the stable development of the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum was initiated by Australia and China actively joined and supported it. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was initiated by China and Australia actively joined and supported it. This indicates that both countries have put forward constructive initiatives for the region’s development and supported each other. The 2008 global financial crisis gave birth to the G20, in which China and Australia have maintained good collaboration and support each other in the face of financial crisis. Benefited to some extent from strong economic co-operation with China, Australia has been a developed country free from a recession.

This indicates the complementary and mutual-benefit features of China-Australia co-operation. China is ready to be deeply involved in international co-operation on the digital economy, green and low-carbon development as well as actively seek accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, so as to promote Chinese modernisation. This will surely boost the China-Australia relationship and regional development and growth.

Fourth, third-party co-operation between China and Australia sees huge potential and will achieve collaborative development and win-win outcomes among regional countries. Southeastern Asia and the South Pacific are the natural bonds connecting China and Australia. With our respective and distinctive advantages, the two countries are fully capable of strengthening multilateral co-operation and co-ordination. The “China-Australia plus” co-operation model may be the solution to expand opportunities of shared development and cope with climate change in the region. President Xi said during his meeting with Prime Minister Albanese, “Both as important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, China and Australia need to improve, uphold and further develop the relationship. It not only serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples but also helps to promote peace and development in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.”

As an Australian Aboriginal proverb goes, “Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows.” People are expecting that China and Australia will aim high, draw wisdom and strength from past successful experience, take the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to get the bilateral relations back on the right track, and strive for a better future of China-Australia relations. 

Dr Ruan Zongze is the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Brisbane.








全文打印       打印文字稿