Author: charles koon
Date: 03-28-12 04:44
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, says the ''evolution'' of the US security alliance does not imperil economic ties with Australia's dominant trading partner, China.
Ms Gillard last night rejected warnings from one of the Chinese government's top security advisers of an unsustainable ''disconnect'' between Australia's security and economic policies towards China.
''I think our security arrangements are well understood by China, and we didn't just invent the alliance with America, it's six decades old,'' she said last night.
''China knows that we are in a long-term defence arrangement with America and I think we can, whilst continuing to be a staunch ally of America, also have a good constructive robust relationship with China including an economic relationship with considerable breadth and depth.''
Ms Gillard spoke to reporters after brief encounters with the US and Chinese presidents on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.
She had conversations with Barack Obama and Hu Jintao, with whom she joked about hectic work schedules. Both encounters were described as ''warm''.
Australia's diplomatic ties with China have stabilised after a series of crises in 2009, including the arrest of the Rio Tinto iron ore manager Stern Hu.
Since then, China has increased its political and economic heft, relative to other nations. But it has also had its hands full with diplomatic scuffles with the US, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and India.
Last month, the head of China's most important foreign policy thinktank, the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said it was a matter of ''pressing urgency'' that Australia's strategic relationship with China had failed to keep pace with regional developments.
His comments referred to a struggle with the US for influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
''The long-standing model for the relationship, of which economic complementarity has formed the cornerstone, no longer suffices,'' Cui Liru said in a report prepared with the Australian National University's Australian centre on China in the world.
Mr Cui's thinktank is affiliated with the Ministry of State Security and provides intelligence reports to senior levels of the Chinese government, including the Politburo standing committee.
Ms Gillard also rejected the view of a leading expert on China's foreign relations, the Lowy Institute's Linda Jakobson, that her intelligence and foreign policy advisers were more hawkish on China than their counterparts in Washington.
''I think the calibration we have about our relationship with China is the right calibration.''
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