West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says the Australian government should have done more to establish a mature relationship with China, a leading local newspaper reported Saturday.
Barnett said he didn't believe Australia has handled the economic and investment relationship with China as well as it could have. To some extent, the government was not worry about a broadening of the economic relationship with China, the Australian reports.
Barnett expressed grave doubts about how the whole relationship has been handled at a political level, particularly given the abandonment of Rio's proposed deal to have Chinalco take 18 percent of the company as well as stakes in some key assets.
He said it was not proper that Australia's diplomatic, political and economic relationships with China were determined by a private company, Rio, and its "boardroom in London".
The degree of diplomatic and economic attention paid to Japan when it started investing in Australian resources had not happened with China and, as a result, relations had started awkwardly, he said.
The proposed deal had not been handled very well by the Australian government, which avoided making a decision on whether it met foreign investment guidelines when Rio pulled out in May in favour of an alliance with BHP Billiton, he said.
Barnett was speaking in a discussion with West Australian business, political and academic leaders in preparation for a major conference sponsored by the University of Western Australia.
Well before the spy case occurred, the Premier was already scheduled to fly to China this week to try to "smooth down the relationship and assure the Chinese their investment is welcome and needed".
Barnett said amid rethinks and worries emerge that relationship with China has been partly damaged and that the Australian government should not left the Chinalco case to bodies like the Foreign Investment Review Board.
Australian analysts urge that the government should never ignore China in any decision making and that profound and comprehensive diplomatic and economic strategies are in dire need as for the future relationship with China.