NEW YORK - The United States should be optimistic about China, work on its
ties with Beijing and not exaggerate the dangers of the rise of the Asian giant,
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Thursday.
Downer said that while he believed the United States had done a good job so
far of managing its relationship with China, there were still many Americans --
including members of Congress -- who viewed it as a threat to Washington.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander
Downer attends a Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers meeting in
Sydney, Australia, Dec. 1, 2006. The United States should be optimistic
about China, work on its ties with Beijing and not exaggerate the dangers
of the rise of the Asian giant, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander
Downer said on Thursday.[AP]
Although the White House said earlier on Thursday that Australia and Canada
had joined the United States in voicing concerns to China over a
satellite-killing test in space, Downer said an emerging China was not
"I think there will always be difficulty in (the US) relationship with
China," Downer said in an interview. "But there's no need to exaggerate dangers
of a rising China. A rising China isn't necessarily a danger to America."
"In the medium term, not in the short term, America should be optimistic
about its relationship with China. It is potentially a good relationship and
they should work on it, despite the less than ideal political system in China."
Last March, during security talks between allies Australia, Japan and the
United States, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice voiced concerns that a
military build-up by Beijing could outpace its regional ambitions and interests.
In October, a US congressional panel released a report that said China,
despite its rising power and wealth, may not be willing or ready to play a
responsible role in an international system aimed at encouraging peace and
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Downer, in the United States to promote Australian tourism and investment
opportunities, said energy-hungry China, which has experienced several years of
double-digit economic growth, was driven mainly by markets and resources.
"China is one of the things that is working pretty well in the world," Downer
said in his car as he traveled between appointments in New York. "I think on
balance they are handling their position pretty well."