Gillard wins praises for China trip

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-4-16 15:09:03

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard quietly returned to Australia from her China trip last week, earning praises for forging a new "strategic relationship" with the country's major trading partner.

"We have had a very good week for Australia here in China," Gillard said after talks with China's leaders in Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

On paper and in the Sydney's Mandarin-speaking Central Business District, the word was out that through Gillard's efforts, Australia has just beaten almost every other country in the world in securing regular high-level meetings with China's new generation of leaders.

Gillard's announcement of a new "strategic partnership" between Australia and China paves the way for formal annual meetings between Australia's prime minister and her Chinese counterpart as well as meetings of Australia's foreign affairs minister, treasurer and trade minister also with their Chinese counterparts.

Australia has now become the third country after the United States and Japan to have direct currency trading with the Chinese RMB.

Leading Australian banks have been granted licenses to start trading in renmimbi and Sydney's dream of becoming an RMB trading hub is now within reach.

Gillard said the "landmark deal" that she was able to wangle in Beijing gives Australia an edge over other countries.

While the Chinese leadership has annual talks with the EU and regular multi-level discussions and summits with US President Barack Obama, only three other countries are given this special arrangement by China, namely Britain, Germany and Russia.

"When the history of this relationship (with China) is written, I think this will be remembered as a day that a big step forward has been taken," Gillard said.

Gillard said that countries around the world are competing for China's attention. But now, she said, Australia will not have to compete because "we will be there at the

table, working on the issues that deeply matter to both of us."

The news about Gillard's successful China trip has received warm, bipartisan support, especially from organizations that have deeper understanding of China's role in Asia's geo-political future.

The Australia China Youth Association (ACYA), the only youth non-governmental organization that operates at an international level, described the agreed annual leaders summit as "a brilliant step in the right direction."

ACYA's Australia President Tom Williams told Xinhua that for many years, they have been advocating for such a high-level mechanism that can thresh out issues involving the interest of both countries.

Williams said that under this new "diplomatic architecture," Australia will be able to realize its economic objectives viz-a- viz its trade and other relations with China, now the world's second biggest economy.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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