Future leaders rewrite China-Australia relationship

2012-11-13 23:17:20 GMT2012-11-14 07:17:20(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Sydney, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The University of Sydney Tuesday announced the results of an essay competition to celebrate 40 years of Sino-Australian diplomatic relations, with entries from future leaders across both nations.

The ten Chinese and Australian winners, all aged under 25, were asked to discuss the future of diplomatic relations between Australia and China, with prizes for entries in both English and Chinese.

The essays broached diverse issues such as bilateral relations beyond a trading partnership, defensive cooperation for a peaceful region, and overcoming ideological differences to collaborate for a better future.

In attendance at the awards ceremony were Marie Bashir, Governor of NSW and Chancellor of the University of Sydney, and Duan Jielong, Consul-General of the People's Republic of China in Sydney.

"I want to applaud our young scholars who entered this competition, because it's an innovative project which will continue on and bring greater understanding and appreciation of China's greatness; the many dimensions of its history and its continuing achievements, and membership of the world's great nations," said Her Excellency Professor Bashir.

"I have a dream, and I see it coming into being, of Australia and China working together, strengthening our collaboration in education and economics, but contributing above all to the peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific area, because there's still a lot of poverty and disadvantage in the area, and we together can assist in that," she added.

Duan Jielong also praised the competition, calling it "positive inspiration for the further promotion of student exchanges between China and Australia."

"In the past 40 years, since the establishment of our diplomatic relationship, the exchanges and cooperation between our two countries are expanding and deepening with each passing day," Mr. Jielong said.

Current statistics show China as the single largest contributor to the international student population in Australia, accounting for one fifth of all student visa applications in 2010-11.

Dr. Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney, said he hoped to see student exchange -- and bilateral relations -- going both ways.

"Young people are the future. They are the future leaders of our two countries. I think it's really important that young people understand one another on a face-to-face, day-to-day basis, [where] there's an opportunity to exchange ideas, because that is the future of diplomatic relations," Dr. Spence told Xinhua.

The aim of the competition was to "encourage people to think deeply about the nature of the diplomatic relationship and its future, about the remarkable history there's been over these 40 years of relations between the two countries," he added.

With the recent release of the Australian government's Asian Century white paper, Sino-Australian relations are fast emerging as a primary focal point in Australian politics, and a talking point amongst the people.

"All sorts of things are happening in the Western Pacific; if you want to ask where the world is growing, where the most exciting cultural, political and economic development is happening; they're all happening in our part of the world. It's a privilege for our country to be a part of that, and we think that cooperation with China is incredibly important," said Dr. Spence.

"We hope [our relationship] can contribute something to the development of China as well."

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