'We should treat China normally: Australian FM

Updated: 2011-02-26 13:18
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CANBERRA - Australia's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said in a recent interview that he wanted to pursue a "third way" of dealing with China in order to cast away previously held values of the "Cold War".

"What I say is that we should just treat China normally and that is from time to time you're going to have difficulties, from time to time you're going to have things that you need to sort out, but that's based on most of the time having fundamental agreements about the way in which our two countries want to go," Rudd said.

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He said that in the international community often there's a debate, adding "the debate which goes into two big categories those who are described as being anti-China, those who are regarded as being pro-China. But this is very much a 'Cold War concept', it belongs to a different age."  

"So when I talk about a 'third way', it's trying to move the international community away from the 'Cold War' concept of either this or that," Rudd said.

Since 1972, Australia and China have enjoyed a fast-growing bilateral relationship, the foreign minister said, "we've had a great relationship with China. There has been huge growth in economic contact, huge growth in the political contact, huge growth in the foreign policy contact, people to people."

In terms of the current relationship between Australia and China, Rudd acknowledged that there has been disagreement in some minor parts of issues.

The two countries now have some differences in free trade agreement, in the field of human rights, and in the concepts on how the pair build security in the future in wider East-Asia, Rudd said.

However, he noted that it is normal for disagreement to exit in any mature relationship, and all these difficulties can be overcome if the both countries are willing to work at it.

"So we should never end up in a situation where it's black or white, where we are either anti-China or pro-China. A normal mature relationship has huge areas of agreement, some areas of disagreement and then a process to deal with those areas of disagreement," he said.

"If I was holding up a glass of water right now, the glass would be three quarters full in terms of the Australia-China relationship, so we've got to work on that quarter that's not and that will take some time and efforts," he added.

Meanwhile, 2011 is the year of Chinese Culture in Australia and this year will provide great opportunity for Australians to look at the depth and the antiquity of Chinese culture and civilization. He believed that it will bring greater appreciation for Chinese culture in Australia.