China's new ambassador to Australia used his first community event to acknowledge the "great relationship" between the two countries and call on both nations to manage it in a "mature way".
Attending the ANU Lunar New Year celebrations on Saturday, His Excellency Xiao Qian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Commonwealth of Australia, said he hoped to use this year's 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations to find ways to manage differing views.
"Undeniably there are some problems in our relationship over the past several years. It is not something we would like to see," he said.
Comparing countries to families, he said it was "normal that you have some different views".
"The key thing is that we will learn to manage and to deal with our relationship in a mature way - in a way that we will focus our efforts on the common ground of our two sides, while at the same time properly deal with those differences so that it will not affect our overall relationship, including our relationship of cooperation in education," he added.
Mr Xiao arrived in Australia in January and the visit to ANU for the celebration, organised jointly by ANU, the ACT Chinese Australian Association and the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, was his first event outside the embassy.
He remarked on how ANU was highly respected in Asia and around the world and that students were the "future bridges of friendship and cooperation between our nations".
The celebration of the Year of the Tiger included traditional lion dancing, martial arts displays, live music and the chance for the community to try their hand at Mahjong and calligraphy.
The diplomatic community was well represented at the event, with the Singapore High Commission and Embassy of Vietnam also sending representatives who joined Mr Xiao and ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt for an 'awakening ceremony' as part of the lion dancing performance.