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Page last updated at 08:25 GMT, Thursday, 20 August 2009 09:25 UK

Australia-China tie 'challenging'

PM Kevin Rudd, 17th April 2009
Mr Rudd has come under pressure over relations with China

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said ties with China are challenging, as Australia's ambassador to China flies to Australia for talks.

Mr Rudd played down media reports that the ambassador, Geoff Raby, had been called back emergency talks.

China's state press has been running damning commentary about Australia.

Australia is disturbed by China's detention of an Australian executive; China is angry that Australia allowed a Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer, to visit.

But Mr Rudd stressed the ambassador's trip home was routine, and that tensions were inevitable between nations with different values.

Challenging

"The China-Australia relationship is always full of challenges and can I say it always has been thus and it will be thus for quite a long time to come," Mr Rudd said.

"Our challenge in managing this relationship is simply to negotiate those bumps in the road as they occur," he said.

Australia sells huge amounts of natural resources to China and, despite hitches in the relationship, signed a new gas deal this week with PetroChina.

Canberra chose to side with a terrorist
China Daily editorial

"China has significant interests in Australia. China's interests in Australia go to its long-term needs for its resource security," Mr Rudd said.

"Obviously, it's a good time to take stock of the relationship and how we move forward," he said of the ambassador's trip.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said it was business as usual for the two nations, two days after highlighting that China had cancelled a ministerial visit due to Australia's granting of a visa to Ms Kadeer.

Chinese media meanwhile, has called Australia "sino-phobic".

The China Daily, the Communist Party's official English-language paper, carried an editorial on Wednesday saying Australia's "sino-phobic politicians" were leading the world's "anti-China chorus" and siding with Mrs Kadeer, who it calls a "terrorist".

"The cancellation of a visit to Australia by Chinese vice-foreign minister is a restrained and reasonable response on the part of Beijing when that country has challenged China's core national interests," it said.

"By providing Kadeer a platform for anti-Chinese separatist activities, Canberra chose to side with a terrorist and severely hurt China's national interests," the editorial said.

"Lets not get all very excitable about what's occurring. We have a long-term, positive, constructive economic relationship with China," Australia's Mr Smith said.



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