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Australia FM: relationship with China in national interest
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Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith brushed off criticism of the government's relationship with China on Wednesday, said it is in Australia's national interest.

"In this century where economic influence moves to our region, the Asia-Pacific,... it makes sense for Australia to have constructive relationships with all of those countries," Smith told ABC Radio.

The opposition has accused the government of developing an excessively close relationship with Beijing.

Smith said Australia unquestionably has enjoyed a sensitive, positive and constructive relationship with China, which was in the national interest.

China was Australia's second-largest trading partner.

(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2009)

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