January 31
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Australia's defense alliance with Britain and the United States has led China to question its reliability as an economic partner. This was stated by the Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress Fu Ying at a forum dedicated to the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, reports Reuters.

China is Australia's largest trading partner and largest buyer of its iron ore, but disagreements have led to tensions in relations and China's imposition of sanctions on many other Australian exports.

A meeting at last month's G20 summit between Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping "sent a clear message about the need to improve relations," Fu Ying said. The meeting between the two leaders gave reason for optimism, she said. He said, however, that Australia needs to pay attention to China's concerns and be patient. "Its easy to fall down, its much harder to come back," the diplomat said.

The forum, organized by the Australian-Chinese Institute of Relations at the University of Technology Sydney, provided a platform for current and former ambassadors of both countries to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations this month.

According to Fu Ying, economic globalization has cracked under the pressure of geopolitical conflict and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. She wondered if the world was moving from a long period of peace and prosperity to division.

“Australia’s participation in the U.S. led tripartite security alliance AUKUS also gave rise to doubt among people in China about its reliability as a cooperation partner,” she said.

Last year, Australia, Britain and the U.S. announced a defense technology pact known as AUKUS.

Australia said its moves to normalize relations with China would not change its defense policy.

Australian Ambassador to China Graham Fletcher told the forum that political differences had prompted China to disrupt trade with Australia, but the leaders' recent meeting was a welcome development. “Our difficulties have not gone away, but we can now start talking about them, and other things as well,” he said.

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