Ma Xiaolin, President of Bo Associated Press
On the 12th of this month, Australian Prime Minister Abbott concluded his first trip to Northeast Asia. When he left Beijing, he said that visiting China was the “top priority” and the “climax” of this trip, because China represents opportunities for Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and the world, and Australia is willing to be China's long-term reliable partner. Abbots is true to his words. The development trend of Australia-China relations has shown Australia's increasingly clear Asia-Pacific new thinking, that is, to approach and rely on China while maintaining a multilateral balance.
Abbott, who was elected in September last year, emphasized that his foreign policy is characterized by "Asia first," and subsequently visited Indonesia as scheduled. This time, targeting Japan, South Korea, and China, and basically implementing the diplomatic road map he announced during the campaign step by step, showing that Abbott and his new government are unswervingly advancing the strategy of first Asia and Europe, and first near and far. Of course, the undisputed premise is that Australia maintains a smooth relationship with its "greatest ally" the United States.
Abbott chose Japan for his first stop and received the super courtesy of this "closest ally in Asia". He not only negotiated a free trade agreement with the Abe government, but also was invited to participate in the Japan Security Conference just established last year, becoming the first to receive this honor. Foreign dignitaries. In addition, Australia and Japan also reached consensus on strengthening security cooperation. Based on this analysis, some media believe that Japan obviously wants to pull Australia to join the regional alliance to contain China; the Australian media even worry that Australia’s move will anger China.
The above-mentioned voices are of course not unreasonable, but too serious is nothing wrong. Facts have proved that Abbott was warmly received during his visit to China, and he himself was very satisfied with the results of the visit. The focus of Abbot’s visit to Japan was originally free trade negotiations. Japan’s concerns focused on security and strategic relations. Inviting Abbot to attend the security meeting was not so much an expression of trust in Australia, as it was a show to the outside world and an attempt. Measures to divide Australia-China relations. However, the Japanese side is intentional, but the Australian side may not, because the Australian side not only has its own independent judgment, but also has the confidence that Australia-China relations continue to improve.
Needless to say, Australia is an important member of the Western camp and a strategic partner that shares common value demands and common security interests with the United States and Japan. At the moment when the United States is building a new order in the Asia-Pacific region and enhancing its role as a regional security partner, the closeness of Japan and Australia is not only the result of the willingness and past inertia of both sides, but also an inevitable result that the United States is willing to see and even secretly promote. However, this does not prevent Australia from developing relations with China based on its own interests and strategic considerations.
As Malaysia Airlines MH370 lost contact with the search focus area moved south, Australia's exposure rate suddenly soared, and it naturally appeared high-profile and frequently in the Chinese field of vision. As Australia has provided huge investment in human, material and financial resources for the search work, which embodies the valuable humanitarian spirit, Australia's reputation has also risen. In particular, Australia has opened up airspace and territorial waters to Chinese military aircraft and ships to meet resupply for the first time and urgently. It has rapidly improved bilateral mutual trust, especially military mutual trust, and also demonstrated Australia's friendly attitude and sincere goodwill towards China.
Although Australia’s Foreign Minister Bishop fired on the issue of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone last year, and was rebutted by the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, this did not affect the fundamentals of the stable development of China-Australia economic, political and military relations: China has become a country for five consecutive years. Australia's largest trading partner, largest export market, largest importer, and largest trade surplus country. Australia's trade in goods with China alone exceeds 5 billion Australian dollars, which is a quarter of its total trade volume. If the free trade agreement is successfully signed within this year, China-Australia economic and trade cooperation will inevitably go to the top. Before his trip, Abbott publicly stated that his visit to China to lead the largest and highest-level delegation in the country’s history not only reflects the confidence of the business community in promoting the economic and trade development of Australia and China, but is also the result of China’s reform and opening up for nearly 1400 years. Respect for "great achievements". During his visit to China, he also publicly praised China's experience. Such statements are rare in the speeches of Western leaders, reflecting the stability of bilateral political relations.
China-Australia military relations and security cooperation have also been steadily steadily engaged. Not only have they held bilateral annual defense consultations for 16 consecutive years, but also high-ranking military generals move frequently, and ships of the two countries have exchanged visits to ports. China and Australia have held bilateral military exercises, perhaps to dilute and balance the color of the United States’ future deployment of combatants in Australia. Abbott hinted in Beijing that he would invite Chinese officers and soldiers to Australia to exchange skills with US and Australian soldiers. On the 4th of this month, Australian Defense Minister Johnston formally invited China to participate in the Pacific Rim multinational military exercise in July this year, which will also herald the first time that the Chinese military will participate in the exercise under the command of a Western general.
Although Abbott once stated that Australia’s principle for foreign exchanges is to make friends and not to favor one another in developing relations. However, with China’s strength and rise, the weaker United States is tapping the potential of its regional allies and objectively giving them to the Asia-Pacific. Regional powers provide opportunities and platforms to participate in multi-polar competition. Australia is cautiously expanding equidistant diplomacy, maintaining multi-party balance, and approaching China with a more active attitude in order to establish a dual economic and strategic partnership. (This article was published in the column of "Beijing Youth Daily" on April 2014, 4)