Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of Bei­jing, Can­berra good for re­gion

China Daily (USA) - - COMMENT EDITORIAL • OPINION -

In his meet­ing with Aus­tralian For­eign Min­is­ter Marise Payne on Thurs­day, State Coun­cilor and For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said China’s devel­op­ment is not a threat to Aus­tralia but an op­por­tu­nity. This is an im­por­tant mes­sage that should be well re­ceived by the Aus­tralian side as it holds the key for Can­berra to re­pair the pre­vi­ously strained re­la­tions.

Wang’s re­marks touch upon the stick­ing point be­tween the two sides. Since last year, from ac­cus­ing China of seek­ing po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence in Aus­tralia to point­ing an ac­cus­ing fin­ger at China’s co­op­er­a­tion with Pa­cific is­land coun­tries un­der the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, the pre­vi­ous Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment un­der Mal­colm Turnbull soured bi­lat­eral ties with a se­ries of un­founded al­le­ga­tions.

The mis­trust har­bored by some Aus­tralians to­ward China was largely to blame for stok­ing the fric­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. Some Aus­tralian me­dia out­lets and politi­cians then sought to ex­ploit this by stir­ring up anti-China sen­ti­ment in Aus­tralian so­ci­ety, which served to poi­son the at­mos­phere for bi­lat­eral ties.

Hence, it is good to see the new lead­er­ship in Can­berra is show­ing a more open ap­proach, and it is seek­ing to change course and steer bi­lat­eral ties out of the stormy wa­ters in which they have been founder­ing.

Wang met with Payne at the lat­ter’s re­quest on the side­lines of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in Septem­ber, dur­ing which the two sides cleared the air with an in-depth ex­change of views on Chi­naAus­tralia re­la­tions and is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est.

Thus Payne’s on­go­ing visit to China has been widely viewed as sig­nal­ing a rap­proche­ment in China-Aus­tralia ties. With the meet­ing be­tween the two coun­tries’ top diplo­mats on Thurs­day again said to be both can­did and con­struc­tive, it shows both sides are sin­cere in seek­ing to put bi­lat­eral ties back on the right track.

Payne said her coun­try wel­comes China to ex­pand in­vest­ments in Aus­tralia, which is a pos­i­tive mes­sage to the Chi­nese busi­ness cir­cle, as Chi­nese in­vest­ments in Aus­tralia have come un­der in­creas­ing scru­tiny in Aus­tralia in re­cent years.

It is also a pos­i­tive mes­sage for the re­gion. China-Aus­tralia co­op­er­a­tion in eco­nomic and trade fields is not only the cor­ner­stone of bi­lat­eral ties, but also ben­e­fi­cial for the wider re­gion, in­clud­ing the Pa­cific is­lands, where Wang said the two coun­tries can join hands as they have a shared in­ter­est in their growth and pros­per­ity.

In­deed, the South­ern Pa­cific is big enough for China-Aus­tralia co­op­er­a­tion, and there is no need for Aus­tralia to feel threat­ened by China’s nor­mal in­ter­ac­tion with the re­gion. News: Ad­ver­tise­ment: Phone app:

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