--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

A Look at 21st Century Sino-Australian Relations
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, Sino-Australian associations have made smooth progress on the whole despite some digressions. In a world of rapid economic globalization and regionalization, China and Australia are becoming closer in fields of politics and economics. Looking at the future, the two sides must consider how to elevate Sino-Australian relations to a new higher level. Though China and Australia have different social systems and vary in terms of economic development, they still share more common interests than differences. Thus, Sino-Australian relations will become even brighter as the two countries can seek more common ground and overcome their differences by focusing on their strengths while avoiding their weakness.

The Common Interests

Both China and Australia share common interests and views on many important global and regional issues. In a global context, the two countries are concerned with multilateral trade and multilateral cooperation. Both maintain good cooperative relations with international organizations, play active roles in the UN and various other international organizations and support the UN charter and functions of its relevant bodies. As signatory states of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), both China and Australia have made vital contributions to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and biological and chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the two countries are acting as key responsible members in a bid to reach peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since China and Australia have no historical hatred or basic conflicts of interest, they don’t regard each other as a threat. Australia has neither a history of invasion nor colonization in the Asia-Pacific region and has never encountered territorial or ethnic disputes with China. The Australian Strategic Policy, issued by the Howard government in 1997, says that China’s economic development and increasing national defense does not pose any threat to Australia or the Asian-Pacific region as a whole. In the Defense 2000: Our Future Defense Power, Australia held that the country is safe from any large-scale attacks from the outside world. Based on these factors, China and Australia can focus on developing friendly relations without any basis for conflict.

Both China and Australia share a common will to further step up cooperation in terms of economics and trade. For a long time now, Australia has treated China as one of its most important trading partners and since the two have mutually complementary economies, both nations have made enormous progress in these areas over the past 30 years of diplomatic ties. With economic concerns playing such a pivotal role in Sino-Australian ties, Sino-Australian relations can better develop towards establishing a long-term stable course.

The Future of Sino-Australian Relations

China, acknowledged as a rising world power, will pay more attention to shouldering a greater responsibility of Asian-Pacific affairs, while Australia, a mid-level power in the Asian-Pacific region, will gradually widen its sphere of foreign affairs and make further contributions to the region. Such a background will help both China and Australian develop closer ties.

Sino-Australian relations have already expanded to include fields of science, technology, culture and education and have met with great success. In addition, Foreign ministers of the two countries have also established good working relations, holding high-level meetings, exchanging views on multilateral occasions such as the ARF and APEC. Moreover, as active supporters of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, both countries promise to build an open and integrated regional market through APEC, and as such the two sides have a lot of potential for further developments in a number of fields.

1.Strategic Significance in Economic Cooperation

As the two economies are highly complementary, China and Australia have already benefited greatly from their ever expanding economic and trade relations, and there is still much room for future expansion. From the perspective of geo-economics, China and East Asia are Australia’s closest neighbors. For Australia’s part, China is not only an increasingly significant trading partner, but also the most important trading partner in Asia in the post-Japan era. Now, China (including Hong Kong) has become Australia’s third largest trading partner, making up 13 percent of the country’s total trade volume, equal to the total trade volume between Australia and that of other ASEAN member countries.

2.Broad Cooperative Future in Energy

Australia is rich in energy resources and its production outstrips consumption, making it the third largest energy exporter in the world. Australia hopes to remain as China’s principal energy provider over the coming 15 years, providing China’s huge energy needs for the county’s rapid drive to modernization. In this regard, China and Australia have a long future of cooperation. For example, in August 2002, the two sides signed an agreement for Australia to provide 3 million tons of liquefied natural gas, totaling 25 billion Australian dollars (US$14billion), to China with the five years from 2005.

3.More Non-traditional Military Cooperation

Australia is large in geographical size, but small in terms of population. The total military population is less than 60,000. After the Cold War, Australia believes its biggest threat is from waves of refugees, illegal immigration, organized crime and drug smuggling, issues China is also concerned with. In the current global context of anti-terrorism, China and Australia share a similar front line. Therefore, China and Australia can explore further cooperation on these issues.

(The author, Sun Huimin, is a research fellow with China’s Institute of International Studies.)

(china.org.cn translated by Zheng Guihong, January 3, 2003)

Chinese, Australian Premiers Exchange Greetings on Anniversary of Relations
Reception Marks 30 Years of Diplomatic Ties with Australia, NZ
China, Australia Sign Major Natural Gas Supply Agreements
China, Australia Pledge to Further Bilateral Cooperation
Festival Highlights Aussie Culture
Interview: More Sino-Australian Exchanges to Take Place
Top Legislator Hopes for Further Growth of Sino-Australian Ties
Former Australian PM Praises Trade and Education Cooperation
Chinese President Meets Australian PM
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688