Briefing paper

The Sino-Australian relationship: towards a brighter future

Defence International relations Power resources Australia China

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Australia.

Forty years ago, against the backdrop of the Cold War, leaders from the two countries with strategic vision, broke through ideological shackles to open a new chapter in the relationship. To be 40 years old in Chinese culture is to be the “age without doubts”, meaning that one’s life has entered a mature stage.
Sino-Australian relations, however, seem far from being “without doubts”. Since 2009, Chinese commentators have been puzzled by a series of episodes played out in Australia and perceived as being unfriendly to China. Observers in Australia have also asked questions about the implications of China’s rise for the region.

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