It looks like China and Australia are ready to cooperate in the South Pacific, but not everyone is on board

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne

Australia and China have had a pretty significant diplomatic thaw this week as the respective top diplomats met in Beijing, the first high-level meeting in almost three years.
But the Communist Party-run Global Times told its readers that’s great for politicians, but ordinary Chinese still believe Australians are pretty awful and will continue to believe that for some time.
Australia has been frozen out by China over the last few years over a number of issues from: Chinese political influence in Australia, to Australian interference in the South China Sea.
Both sides said they would try to work together in the economically contested South Pacific as China seeks to shore up some global relationships in a time of trade wars and economic tensions.
The Global Times said fine, but Australia is a sandbox for experimenting with other Western countries.

Following a successful surprise meeting on Thursday, Beijing and Canberra want to be friends again.

That’s good, but it won’t change the fact that, for the Chinese people, Australia has made “probably the worst” impression out of all Western nations, The Global Times has noted in a strongly worded opinion piece.

Despite a reportedly warm first encounter on Thursday between Australia’s newly enlisted foreign affairs minister Marise Payne and Chinese state councilor and foreign affairs minister Wang Yi (王毅 ) in Beijing, the strident Chinese tabloid had some tough truths to share for those hoping for a thaw in the frosty bilateral relationship.

In a typically withering opinion piece titled “It will be more difficult for China and Australia to repair people-to-people relations than to restore political relations,” the publication compared Australia unfavorably with US President Donald Trump.

At least when Trump was openly hostile toward China, people could understand why, the paper suggested.

“Trump has launched an unprecedented trade war with China, but the Chinese people can at least understand the rationale of the US. But Chinese people do not get why Australia is so hostile to China (in the last two years),” the opinion piece reads.

In fact, the resumption of high-level meetings between China and Australia will come a lot easier than rediscovery of the once mutually admirative and friendly feelings between the two peoples, the paper observed.

Making the enemy less of an enemy

“Due to its performance in the past two years, Australia has left a bad impression on the Chinese people, probably the worst of all Western countries,” the opinion column said.

It continued: “The Chinese people understand that we must make friends with the outside world and try our best to make the enemy less than the enemy. Therefore, it is acceptable to improve the relationship between China and Australia rationally. However, people’s understanding of the Australian position in recent years is difficult to change in a short time.

For almost a decade really, Australia has been caught in a bit of a slow motion PR trainwreck in China.

Emerging of a once-in-a-generation trading boom that peaked around 2007, relations ironically began to sour around the same time the Mandarin speaking China expert Kevin Rudd was voted …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Politics

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