Sino-Australian ties benefit both
Updated: 2012-12-24 07:56
By Wang Hui (China Daily)
Forty years after China and Australia forged diplomatic relations on Dec 21, 1972, the breadth and depth of their interactions have exceeded many people's expectations. Driven by the mutual desire to benefit from thriving ties, the two countries have every reason to continue to build on this good momentum and deepen reciprocal cooperation.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard exchanged letters of congratulation on Friday. Throughout the year, both sides have hosted various commemorative activities. Officials, business people and scholars from both countries have gathered at forums at different levels to mark the event and expressed their good wishes for the tree of friendship to grow even greener.
Indeed, what Beijing and Canberra have reaped over the past four decades is a bountiful harvest. In 2011 bilateral trade was more than $100 billion, 1,000 times the volume 40 years ago. China is now Australia's biggest trading partner, largest export market and biggest source of imports. According to a statement issued by acting Australian Prime Minister Wayne Swan on Friday, half a million Chinese people visit Australia each year, and over 350,000 Australians visit China each year. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese students have been trained in Australia. Last year alone there were more than 100,000 Chinese students studying in Australia.
Meanwhile, Australia has become the top destination for Chinese investment overseas. Over the past five years, Australia has approved Chinese investments worth 60 billion Australian dollars ($62.71 billion).
Hence, it is only natural that the two economies have become increasingly interdependent. Australia needs China as a stable market, while China looks to Australia as a reliable provider of resources. Frequent exchanges at the people-to-people level will further consolidate bilateral ties. There is a bright future for the two countries to tap into the potential of their cooperation in trade and other fields.
Nevertheless, this does not necessarily mean cooperation will be plain sailing. The two countries need to properly handle their skirmishes over Chinese investment in Australia and not let the United States overshadow their ties.