Author: charles koon
Date: 03-26-12 20:02
From this short editorial, we have a rare glimpse of what sort of a person, Mandarin speaking, Kevin Rudd is, also the new Aussie Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Dalai Lama.....
THE currency swap arranged by the central banks of China and Australia is a welcome antidote to the apprehension that often grips people in this country about the emergence of Chinese power. As the governor of the Reserve Bank, Glenn Stevens, observed in Hong Kong on his way to seal the agreement, there had been a ''tendency to focus on the difficulties, rather than the opportunities, which come with our situation''.
Overall, our situation vis-a-vis China is very fortunate. The world's second largest economy is our biggest trading partner, with bilateral flows hitting $105 billion in 2010-11 and investment commitments reaching $40 billion. The 77,000 Chinese visitors who came to Australia in January were our biggest national tourist group, while are most numerous foreign students are Chinese.
In short, while some Canberra MPs and others worry about strategic contest and even conflict with the US, rural nationalists see Chinese and other foreign investors ''buying the farm'', and some Chinese leaders are irked at our criticisms, business is humming along nicely. The currency swap will make it even easier, cutting out the need for double currency conversions via the US dollar.
That is not to say all is harmonious under the heavens. There are irritants and concerns, and these need to be addressed. The question is: are they being addressed in a way that encourages solutions, or in a way that causes the other party to switch off? Our new Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, should keep it constantly in mind as he readjusts the stance Canberra has shown towards China since Labor took office in 2007.
As the Lowy Institute's China specialist, Linda Jakobson, points out, Kevin Rudd's tough approach - through his public airing of human rights problems as a self-styled ''true friend'' and his identification (thanks to WikiLeaks) as a ''brutal realist on China'' - nettled many senior Chinese. At the same time, it has not noticeably changed the problems Rudd was addressing, notably the deepening unhappiness among Tibetans reflected in the new phenomenon of protest through self-immolation.
It will not be easy. Escaping the flak of Tibet activists last week for having once called the Dalai Lama a ''cunning monk'', Carr made much of a request for the ambassador in Beijing to inspect the Tibetan regions - too much for some Chinese officials, apparently. Carr is learning his portfolio's trade of talking to different audiences simultaneously.
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