Australia’s Trade Minister Simon Crean was reported as saying free trade talks between China and Australia will go ahead in Beijing next month despite slightly rocky relations.
Australia’s grant of a visa to Rebiya Kadeer, the alleged mastermind of the July riots in Urumqi in which almost 200 people were killed, and the arrest of an Australian Rio Tinto mining executive and three other Rio staff on allegations of commercial espionage have stirred the pot.
Nevertheless Simon Crean said a decision during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Chen Deming underscored the strong commercial ties between Canberra and its biggest export partner.
Crean told the Australian Financial Review newspaper in an interview, "I don’t think (the current political row) is dangerous. I can’t stand this view of life that we have to fear the Chinese."China Daily reported that Crean said his talks with Chen had been frank and cordial, with the tone of discussions "strongly positive". He said this week’s $41.5 billion deal to sell liquefied natural gas to PetroChina underscored the strength of ties with China.