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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Unease grows at the rise of China

September 30, 2008

Mark Dodd
The Australian
September 30, 2008

CHINA'S growing global dominance and its burgeoning investment stake in
local companies are generating growing unease among ordinary Australians.

Despite China's successful Olympics and the fact it has overtaken Japan
as Australia's largest trading partner, trust in the nation has fallen
since 2006, according to the Lowy Institute's annual foreign policy survey.

While 86 per cent of Australians agree China will become the world's
leading power in Asia, 59per cent say they are "somewhat uncomfortable"
about this.

Only a third of respondents believe Australian interests would not be
harmed if China gained "more power and influence".

"Australia's relationship with China is a complex one and was further
complicated by the controversy over the Chinese Olympic torch relay, the
crackdown in Tibet, and the increasing focus on China that came with
hosting the Olympic Games," says the Australia and the World survey,
released yesterday.

Support for the US alliance is the strongest since the poll began in
2005. Seventy-six per cent of Australians believe the ANZUS alliance is
"very important" or "fairly important", compared with 63 per cent last year.

A solid majority -- 73 per cent -- want Democrat Barack Obama to be the
next US president, with just 16 per cent endorsing his Republican rival,
John McCain.

Lowy Institute executive director Allan Gyngell said the bounce back in
support for the US alliance was a notable change after three years of
gradual decline.

"This year, the United States tied with Japan when it comes to trust to
act responsibly in the world," Mr Gyngell said.

"That's ahead of India, Russia and China."

Sixty two per cent of respondents believe not enough pressure is being
exerted on the Chinese regime to improve its poor record on human rights.

Those worries were echoed by similar concern about Chinese ownership of
major Australian companies.

"A majority of Australians oppose major foreign investments by
companies, banks or investment funds controlled by overseas governments
-- 78 per cent oppose those controlled by theChinese government," the
survey says.

Ninety per cent of those polled said the federal Government bore a
responsibility to ensure major Australian companies were kept in
majority Australian control.

In a setback for the Rudd Government, a majority opposed involvement in
the Afghanistan conflict by a factor of 56 to 42 per cent. Last year,
opinions were evenly divided.

While trust in the US was growing, Britain remained the most "warmly
regarded" country, followed by France and coup-hit Fiji. Iran was the
least popular.

Economic issues overtook climate change as the most important foreign
policy challenge -- up 10 points from sixth place last year to third.
Almost twice as many people polled said Australia's international
reputation had improved under the Rudd Government, compared with those
who though it had not.

The poll reaffirmed that Australians are staunch anti-whalers. Offered a
choice of four graded responses, 58 per cent chose the most severe and
said the Australian Government should do more to pressure Japan to stop
whaling even if we risk losing trade deals.

Only 4 per cent believed Australia should not involve itself in
anti-whaling if it put trade with Japan at risk.

The findings were proof the Rudd Government was failing on whaling,
Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said. "Will Kevin Rudd ever
deliver on his repeated promise to take the whaling issue to the
International Court of Justice?"

Worries about an increasing scarcity of water topped the list of threats
to Australia's vital interests, with 83 per cent believing the problem
was now critical. Global warming ran a close second, on par with
international terrorism.

Australians appear to be least concerned about instability on the Korean
peninsula, with only 34 per cent nominating the Cold War hangover as a
worrying threat downunder.

Of the 14 major threats on offer, Islamic fundamentalism ranked No7 at
48 per cent, well down on the previous year, when it scored 60 per cent.
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