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The Commentary of the Week...

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Mixed messages on China leave Kevin Rudd exposed - Paul Kelly

** this is the most balance and rational commentary I have read thus far in the Stern Hu fiasco. Comparing with the others, esp those from the Biz Spectators which are written with vested interests (in my view), Paul Kelly clearly spells out the core issues Australia has with China. Worth a read.

Australia is in unprecedented territory. For the first time in our history our main trading partner is not a strategic ally and not a rule of law democratic state. This is a fundamental change in our national existence. It is a long-run transformation and will demand a more sophisticated Australian diplomacy.
It is equally futile to think Australia should retreat from China because it is an authoritarian state. That was not John Howard's policy. It is not the attitude of a sensible Australian government. Our involvement with China will only intensify. What is required is an unsentimental pursuit of the national interest, dismissal of any illusion about a special friendship yet a prudent drive to deepen relations and practical co-operation. That means working through tensions such as the Hu detention.
** there is no reason why Australia cannot work with China and make China a strategic partner in the economic arena. Can't see why not if the Australian govt is pragmatic enough and has the foresight to note Australia's economic future is closely tied in with China's ascendancy in economic power.

Even China's long time enemy, Japan recognises this necessity and is pragmatic enough to adapt to the new economic environment. So is the USA. To date, not one high ranking American officer has stepped onto the Chinese soil and lectured the Chinese on their human right policy. Instead, in the last few months three of their ranking officers - Clinton, Pelosi and Geithner were in China mending fences, talking goodwill. Even the most outspoken of the three, Pelosi who has a record of anti-Chinese speeches did not touch on the sensitive Chinese subject but instead was concentrating on climate issue.

That is the stark reality facing the "free world" - there is an elephant in the room and it's better to deal with it in a friendly way than the other way round coz the cost of mishandling the beast would be disastrous.

Now, ask why would Australia choose a tack that is putting itself in the harm's way? There is simply no reason for Australia to adopt such a policy. It's working against our self/national interest and our future generation's interest.

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