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China–Australia relations
People's Republic of China   Australia
Map indicating location of China and Australia
     China      Australia

Sino-Australian relations refers to the relations between the Australian Commonwealth and the People's Republic of China. China and Australia actively take part in a close and politically robust partnership.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on December 21, 1972.[1]

Today, China is Australia's largest trading partner.[2]


Cultural Relations

Australia has been a haven for Chinese migrants for centuries who have, in the modern day, established themselves as a significant minority group in Australian society. There are now large numbers of Australian-born Chinese and Chinese-born migrants/Australian Citizens in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with small Chinese communities in regional centers, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. There are also Chinatowns in every Australian capital city, including Darwin and large, public Chinese New Year Celebrations in Melbourne and Sydney. The current Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd also has strong connections with Chinese culture having studied Chinese at the Australian National University in Canberra. He also speaks fluent Mandarin.

Political relations

Whilst economic relations between China and Australia have increased significantly to the benefit of both nations, Australia under the previous Howard Government has appeared reluctant to pursue closer political/military ties with China and has maintained the role of George W. Bush controversially dubbed "America's Deputy" in the Asia-Pacific Region.[3]

When, on June 15, 2007, the Prime Minister John Howard received the Dalai Lama,[4] China protested, with official critics.[5]

The election of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia has been seen as favorable to Sino-Australian relations, notably in view of the fact that he is the first Australian Prime Minister to speak fluent Mandarin, and that closer engagement with Asia is one of the "Three Pillars" of his foreign policy.

In 2004, Rudd, who at the time was Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, had delivered a speech in Beijing entitled "Australia and China: A Strong and Stable Partnership for the 21st Century".[6]

In February 2008, Australia reportedly "chastised Taiwan for its renewed push for independence" and "reiterated its support for a one-China policy".[7] In April, however, Rudd addressed Chinese students at Peking University,[8] and, speaking in Mandarin, referred to "significant human rights problems in Tibet".[9][10] Rudd also raised the issue in talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, in a context of "simmering diplomatic tension" according to TV3.[11]

In July 2009, following the arrest in China of Australian mining executive Stern Hu, accused of spying, Rudd intervened to "remind our Chinese friends that China [...] has significant economic interests at stake in its relationship with Australia and with its other commercial partners around the world"[12]. Later in August 2009, the PRC government protested against the Australian government after Rebiya Kadeer was granted a visa to visit Australia to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival[13]. Along with the Rio Tinto espionage case and the failed bid for Chinalco to purchase a higher stake in the Rio Tinto Group, such events are generally considered as lowest ever points in Sino-Australian relations for the past few years.[14] China has also effectively banned visits by senior Australian officials, in protest against the events in question. [15]

Despite the souring of relations within 2009, on August 19, 2009, Chinese petroleum company PetroChina signed an AU$50 billion deal with ExxonMobil to purchase liquefied natural gas from the Gorgon field in Western Australia,[16][17] considered the largest contract ever signed between China and Australia, which ensures China a steady supply of LPG fuel for 20 years, and also forms as China's largest supply of relatively "clean energy"[18][19][20].

See also

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Sino - Australia Relations", Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Australia
  2. ^ China Australia's top trading partner: data
  3. ^ Anger as US pins sheriff badge on Australia
  4. ^ John Howard meets Dalai Lama to talk Tibet
  5. ^ Ambassade de Chine en France, Conférence de presse du 12 juin 2007
  6. ^ "Australia and China: A Strong and Stable Partnership for the 21st Century", Kevin Rudd, July 6, 2004
  7. ^ "China, Australia hold strategic meeting", The Age, February 5, 2008
  8. ^ "China rejects Rudd advice",, April 10, 2008
  9. ^ "Australian PM Kevin Rudd warns China over human rights abuses in Tibet", Jane Macartney, The Times, April 9, 2008
  10. ^ "Aussie Rules", The Independent, April 10, 2008
  11. ^ "Kevin Rudd raises concerns over Tibet", TV3, April 10, 2008
  12. ^ "Australia warns China on spy case", BBC, July 15, 2009
  13. ^ Rowan Callick, July 31, 2009, Uighur Rebiya Kadeer gets visa despite China protest – The Australian
  14. ^ Aussie-China ties hit a low over visa to Kadeer
  15. ^ Greg Sheridan, Michael Sainsbury, August 18, 2009, Beijing bites back over Kadeer visa and iron ore prices – The Australian
  16. ^ Stephen McDonell, August 19, 2009, Record gas deal between China and Australia – AM – Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  17. ^ Babs McHugh, August 19, 2009, Massive sale from Gorgon Gas Project – Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  18. ^ David McLennan, August 20, 2009, Australia to be 'global supplier of clean energy' – The Canberra Times
  19. ^ August 20, 2009, CNPC to import 2.25m tons of LNG annually from Australia – ChinaDaily (Source: Xinhua)
  20. ^ Peter Ryan, August 19, 2009, Deal means 2.2 million tonnes exported per year – AM – Australian Broadcasting Corporation


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