China-Australia relations at critical stage of turnaround: Chinese ambassador
A grand national flag-raising ceremony is held as part of the celebrations for the New Year's Day at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 1, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)
"Both sides need to renew our commitment to the relationship, bring it back on the right track, and earnestly implement the important consensus between our leaders and the China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue Joint Outcomes Statement," Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian said.
CANBERRA, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian said the bilateral relationship is at a critical stage of turnaround currently, and he believed an improved relationship would give more confidence for bilateral cooperation in various fields.
While addressing the New Year's Press Gathering held by the Chinese embassy on Tuesday, Xiao said 2022 was an "extraordinary year" for the China-Australia relations, which have tided over difficulties and regained positive momentum thanks to the efforts from both sides.
"Both sides need to renew our commitment to the relationship, bring it back on the right track, and earnestly implement the important consensus between our leaders and the China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue Joint Outcomes Statement," he said.
The Chinese ambassador urged Australia to look at China in a more objective way, and formulate its defense policy relating to China on the basis of facts and rationality.
"If you think the other side is an enemy, how could you have a sincere, real and good relationship in real sense."
"It is simply not true that China is and could be a potential threat to Australia. There's no reason for us to believe. That's not the case," he stressed.
Xiao also dismissed Australia's security pact with Britain and the U.S. as not constructive nor helpful, and Canberra's nuclear submarine deal under this mechanism goes against the international non-proliferation efforts and Australia's own interest.
"China is not seeking to be an enemy of the United States, Britain nor Australia, so there's no reason for the three countries to stand together to work on something that is targeting China as a potential threat," he said.
"We have certainly different views, but there's no reason for us to be confrontational in nature."
The Sydney Opera House is lit up for the Vivid Sydney in Sydney, Australia, on May 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
As Australian businesses and universities are expecting more Chinese travellers and students after China further optimized its COVID-19 prevention and control measures, the ambassador believed that a further improved relationship would give more impetus for the bilateral cooperation.
He said the two countries experienced some difficulties under the previous Australian government, and those difficulties have affected relationship in other fields.
"I personally believe that while we have a consistent improvement of relationship, that will give people more confidence that they can be assured to continue doing their normal business."
He said he hoped China and Australia will continue to rise above differences, respect each other and work together for mutual benefit in the new year, so that the relationship can get back on the right track and move forward in a sustainable manner.