Bargaining with Giants: why is there no dialogue with China over iron ore?
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The attempt to create a stable diplomatic triangle out of relations between brothers number one, two and twelve is a fraught enterprise, and most particularly so when hard security issues are front and centre. On the other hand, Australia and China arrive at the market for iron ore from different sides but with a measure of substantive equality as number one exporter and number one importer. Since trade in industrial raw materials has always provided a mechanism for the manipulation of strategic vulnerabilities in East Asia, the commencement of a dialogue over the terms and conditions of iron ore trade would have broader strategic as well as narrower economic purposes. Now that the China boom is slowing, prudential interests in market stabilization converge with the higher normative pursuit of market civilization behind this dialogue.