Australian state looks to strengthening ties with China

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CANBERRA: Sound relationship between China and Australia is good for both sides, said some business people in the Victoria State of Australia.

Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital city, is Australia’s second most populated state, and accounts for about 22 percent of the national gross domestic product (GDP).

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian visited the state between Thursday and Saturday, meeting some officials, business people and those from the cultural and education background.

“From the Australian side, China is our number one trading partner and we’re keen to further that relationship,” said Matthew Schofield, president of the Australia China Business Council’s Victoria branch.

Talking about the relationship, he noted “the fact that there is mutual respect and a desire to expand our common ground and the areas of commonality in terms of our business initiatives and future industries are focused.”

Schofield told Xinhua that after the COVID-19 pandemic, he would like to see more exchanges between businesses of the two countries.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia. Hailing it as a “wonderful milestone,” he said they were “keen to have many celebratory events that support the recognition of that 50th anniversary here in Victoria.”

Kellie Parker, Australian chief executive of the mining group Rio Tinto, told Xinhua that they had a long-term strategic relationship with China.

“We are incredibly proud of our relationship with China. Almost 50 years ago, we sent our first ore from the Pilbara to Shanghai,” she said.

Rio Tinto has been working with leading Chinese centers of expertise, including China Baowu and Tsinghua University, to develop new methods and technologies for environmentally friendly steelmaking that will reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of resource usage. This year it established the China Technology and Innovation Center in Beijing to better connect its global operations with China’s technology and innovation capability.

Talking about their Chinese cooperation partners, Parker said: “Not only do they produce high quality goods and services for our business, but they produce talent, technology, and investment. And we know that’s working together in partnership.”

She looks forward to further cooperations with China in, for instance, decarbonization. “Our next big world problem is decarbonization and we know that we can learn from China,” she said.

During his visit, Ambassador Xiao also met with Linda Dessau, governor of Victoria, who noted that cooperation between China and the state was mutually beneficial, and she hoped to see the strengthening of exchanges and collaboration in areas such as education, medical science and sports.

The Chinese ambassador said that China-Australia relationship had very good foundation, and the Chinese side would like to work with Australian people, taking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to push the relationship back on track. –Agencies