CANBERRA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Tuesday said she did not use the phrase "stand up to China" in her earlier interview with a local newspaper.
"Australia and China have different histories, societies and political systems, as well as differences of view on some issues. However, we are committed to managing differences constructively when they arise," Bishop said in her written response to Xinhua's questions.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last Wednesday that Bishop said Australia will stand up to China to defend peace, liberal values and the rule of law.
According to the report, Bishop also criticized the previous Labor governments of avoiding confronting China on these issues for fear of causing offense. "China doesn't respect weakness," the report directly quoted her as saying.
The remarks were rebuked by the Labor. Shadow Foreign Minister Tanya Plibersek, who has accused Bishop of jeopardizing Australia' s relationship with China and playing a "zero sum" game with Australia's regional relationships.
Answering Xinhua's questions, the foreign minister said that Australia and China have a shared interest in regional security and prosperity, as well as in further deepening trade and investment linkages.
"Australia looks forward to building on our constructive partnership with China and engaging in dialogue to build on our shared interests."
"We collaborate closely in a number of multilateral and regional forums, including the G20 and APEC. Australia is seeking to build closer ties and mutual understanding between our peoples. "
She also valued Chinese investment in Australia, saying Chinese investment has led to a significant expansion in Australia's mining and energy production.
"The Australia-China investment relationship benefits both countries. Chinese investment is welcome and is growing strongly, climbing by 41 percent to 32 billion AU dollars (29.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013," Bishop said.
As for the Foreign Investment Review Board, which ensures foreign investment is in Australia's national interest, Bishop said Chinese investment has fared well.
"In the eight years to 2012-13 around 580 business proposals from China have been approved and none have been rejected."
She also encouraged more Chinese investment into areas such as agriculture and infrastructure.
"The Government is committed to ensuring that Australia remains an attractive investment destination and, in particular, is working with China to develop a framework for bilateral investment cooperation."
On the coming visit by Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Committee General Fan Changlong later this week, Bishop said Australia values its defense engagement with China "as a means of contributing to regional stability, enhancing mutual understanding, facilitating transparency and building trust."
High-level visits like this are "an important element" in achieving these aims.Bishop said Australia welcomes cooperation in regional military exercises such as RIMPAC, which China joined for the first time this year.