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Reconciliation of Beijing, Canberra good for region: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-08 20:32
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne. [Photo/Agencies]

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 China-Australia 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.

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