It must have been a difficult job for Julia Gillard to convince the Chinese that Australia and the US do not wish to contain the rising power of China. Blind Freddy knows how close our friendship is with America and China's rise in the region is an obvious concern for them. But more importantly I think, the revelation of a carbon tax next year must have gone down like a lead balloon.
I wonder if the Chinese are aware that many Australians hate the carbon tax and believe it will cause major unemployment and dramatically increase the cost of living. The CEOs of Australia's top mining companies were also having meetings in China yesterday, wanting to know what impact a carbon tax will have on resource prices and China is wondering the same thing. But the Prime Minister insisted that Australia could not afford to be "left behind" as the world moved to a clean energy future.
It leaves Australia between a rock and a hard place really, our economic prosperity relies heavily on China but our security alliance is with the US.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to China for lifting millions of people out of poverty but hoped they were not taking a "backward step" on human rights - a very touchy subject with the Chinese. But what about jailed Australian nationals Stern Hu and Matthew Ng? Although their names were brought up, no details of that discussion were released.