As the saying goes “No man can live alone”, so is a nation. In this era of globalization, no nation can meet the demands of the new world order without the help of other nation. The International Community is composed of various nations, sharing ideas and lending hand to establish progress for a better future. Australia which is a member of the United Nations and other international organizations also shares its ideas and resources to other nations while gaining its interests for the good of its people.
In addition, building friendly relations with other nations plays an essential role in furthering plans for the future of its constituents. Nations to befriend with does not necessarily require similarities in advocacy or type of government. It is necessary that an issue that interests both nations will be properly addressed. Moreover, according to Alan Oxley, interests shape relationship. In the case of Australia, building ties with China, which is a rising superpower, is possible because of some interests that bind both of them.
According to Grattan’s and Nicholson’s article, the Prime Minister wanted to establish a personal relationship with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao. In addition, according to Toy and Grattan, building personal ties with leaders could not be hard because of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s skill and intelligence on China’s tradition and political culture and his experience as Australian diplomat in China. According to Grattan and Nicholson, the relationship between Australia and China is one of common economic and national interest.
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Some of these interests that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to pursue with China are free trade and bilateral agreement, the issue on climate change and to encourage Chinese people to become full partners in the global international order and establish a long- term partnership with China. On economic issue, the Prime Minister is boosting for free- trade and bilateral agreement. Through these, a wider business opportunity will open to both countries.
According to Alan Oxley, Chair of the APEC Centre at Monash University, Australia is a major supplier of resources for China. Moreover, according to Grattan and Nicholson, Australia is known of its coal resources which are needed by China as a source of energy. On the other hand, free trade will open China for Australian investors because of its growing market in the pensions and superannuation industry, as stated by Toy and Grattan in their article. The free- trade agreement will also push to finalize the Doha deal which is an advantage for Australia.
Some barriers in the business transactions between the two countries will also be addressed to further a smooth flow of business. According to Grattan’s and Nicholson’s article, Dr. Malcolm Cook stated that China, on its part, is also interested because of its interest in the bid to buy into Rio Tinto to keep down the costs of resources from Australia. Through free trade agreement, both countries will be able to meet their interests. Under the free- trade agreement, China may as well be granted with investment rights.
Through investment rights, according to Trade Minister Simon Crean, China will be allowed to invest up to $1 billion at a time without having to seek approval from the Foreign Investment review Board (FIRB). However, the proposed changes could raise questions because of the recent increase in Chinese equity investments and takeovers, especially in the resources sector, at a time when Beijing has accumulated $US1. 7 trillion in foreign exchange reserves (cited from Rudd mat give investment rights).
On the contrary, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s moves have raised questions from among observers like former Trade Adviser to the Chinese government, John McDonnell. John McDonnell said “The Prime Minister needs to clarify the nature of his connections with the Chinese Government and how they are likely to affect Australian interests and policies. ” Moreover, John McDonnell has raised two things that the government and Prime Minister shall do to drive- away suspicions in the relationship of Australia and China.
The first is the need to dispel the idea that the Prime Ministers or his ministers have behind-the scenes connections with Chinese interests. This is brought by the obscurity of government’s relationship with Australia- Beijing Technology. According to Mc Donnell, the nature of the business is not clarified to the public. The second is the need to clarify the extent of the government and the Prime Minister’s willingness to deal with an essentially corrupt, and grace-and-favour Chinese regime.
According to McDonnell; “China remains a country without a fundamental legal structure. Its constitution amounts to a set of directives from the central government to the various organs and agencies as to how policy will be conducted. There are no guarantees of the sort embodied in the US constitution. It looks more like a set of cabinet than a basic law. ’ Moreover, Rowan Callick asserted in John McDonnell’s article, that party cadres who have been trained abroad and who have taken over state-owned enterprises.
There is doubt that Australia, a democratic government, might not go well in business with a nation where Communism type of government is adhered. State-ownership may still be the core objective of China despite it’s participation in international affairs. In addition, John McDonnell stated that Government shall make it clear that if it does not get what it believes is a reasonable outcome from the FTA negotiations, then it will rely on the multilateral system to implement its policy objectives.
This makes it clear that John McDonnell doubts that Australia will benefit from the free trade agreement. Momentarily, Prime Minister criticized the human right policy over Tibetans of China in his speech delivered in mandarin in Peking University. Some have given applause while others raised their eyebrows. According to Stuart Harris, former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s speech was very clever while some says that it passed the test with considerable tact and skill.
However, many also criticized his bold move by criticizing and at the same time building free trade with China. According to Dr. Malcolm Cook, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could best influence China if the criticism was done behind closed doors. In the article of Toy and Grattan, China asserted that Tibetans are bestowed with wonderful human rights protection and the issue on Tibet is purely an internal affair that does not welcome any interference form foreign countries. In defense, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stressed that his speech is an advice from a true friend.
The Prime Minister said that a true friend can be a partner who sees beyond immediate benefit to a broader and firm basis for continuing, profound and sincere friendship. This issue raised the doubts and suspicion on the foreign policy of Prime Minister by entering a friendly relation and at the same time criticizing the nations’ policy. Nevertheless, the criticism did not weaken the plan of the two countries of becoming a long- term partner. Furthermore, the very essential factor that binds the two countries in entering into a friendly relation is the issue on climate change.
It can be noted that Australia is playing a major role in addressing the issue on Global Warming. According to Grattan’s and Nicholson’s article, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wanted to persuade the Chinese to play a bigger part on climate change. This would give China a crucial role in the coming international negotiations for a new agreement on climate change. According to Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, Australia and China have a common interest in finding lower carbon solution for coal which means developing a carbon capture and storage mechanism.
Moreover, both leaders committed o wok more closely on climate change, particularly in the area of the development of low emission technology (cited from Rudd again raises Tibet issue with China). Notably, Australia has a significant coal export in China for the latter’s energy needs and coal is one among the elements that causes greenhouse effects causing climate change. In finding a solution to climate change, China plays an important role. As agreed, Australia has committed to fund $20 million in finding solutions for climate change.
The funding will cover the researches in putting up a clean coal technology and collaboration on carbon sequestration. This will lower carbon emissions and at the same time address the energy needs of the world. Significantly, Australia and China will develop the world’s largest solar city through Australia’s funding. Both countries will also monitor the health of the Yellow, Pearl and Da Ling rivers in China. These are the plans of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that he is proposing to China (cited from Australia to aid China’s solar city plan). According to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Australia have come a long way and can go further.
Building friendly relation with China will not only benefit both countries on economy because investors from both countries will have business opportunity. The most essential effect of the relation would be the goal of both countries on issue on climate change. At present, all nations of the world are aware of the climate change but have no significant actions have been taken yet to deal with the problem. However, through the partnership of Australia and China, the global problem will be given solution which will effectively benefit not just Australians and Chinese but also all people of the world.
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