Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Chinese ambassador says Solomons pact no threat to Australia

China’s ambassador to Australia has called on the nations to reach “a healthy and stable relationship” after growing tensions in recent years, continuing a conciliatory tone five months into his posting in Canberra. “Both China and Australia are great countries,” Xiao Qian said in an editorial celebrating the nations’ 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, which was published in the Australian Financial Review. “Our peoples have sincere feelings for each other and are eager to exchange ideas, engage in mutual learning, deepen friendship and seek common development.” (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/china-top-diplomat-australia-urges-235150209.html) Australia’s relationship with China, its largest trading partner, have deteriorated in recent years, with Beijing placing tariffs on barley exports, and traders ordered to stop buying commodities including coal, copper and wine. Tensions sparked again last month when China signed a controversial security pact with Pacific Islands nation the Solomon Islands, a move that could allow Chinese military ships a safe harbor just 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Australian coastline.

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