Australia and China want to search out frequent floor, former Australian prime minister says

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SINGAPORE — Australia and China want to search out frequent floor regardless of their variations, because the financial relationship between the 2 is a vital one, mentioned John Howard, former Australian prime minister.

“The relationship economically between Australia and China is very important, and there are tensions in that relationship and they have to be attended to,” Howard mentioned on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the Singapore Summit.

The connection between the 2 international locations has been fraught with rigidity, with Beijing launching an investigation into some wine imports from Australia final month, following actions on other commodity imports. 

“I certainly don’t think in any way Australia should get into a situation of giving up on its relationship with China; it’s very important to us. Our commodity exports (like) iron ore, coal and the likes are very important to the Australian economy,” mentioned Howard, who was in workplace from 1996 to 2007.

China is considered one of Australia’s key buying and selling companions, with the Asian financial powerhouse shopping for a lot of the commodity merchandise produced Down Below.

The latest downward spiral within the China-Australia relationship was triggered by Canberra’s call for an international probe into the origins of the coronavirus, which was first reported within the Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan.

Howard didn’t point out the probe, however emphasised the necessity for Australia to take a balanced strategy to its relationship with China — whilst tensions between the U.S. — Canberra’s closest ally — and China simmer.

“I don’t think we should allow ourselves to be defined by whom to support between China and the United States. We can have good relations with both of those countries, albeit of a different kind, because we are different societies,” he mentioned.

“I see the the bilateral relationship between Australia and China as something that we have to attend to and nurture according to our own particular interests, always remembering, of course, that we are part of a group of Western countries that believe in some fundamental values,” Howard added.

As an alternative, Australia and China want to search out some consensus despite their completely different histories and political programs, he mentioned.

“It’s tremendously important in these difficult times, particularly against the background of the pandemic, to take a balanced approach, to try and find areas of common agreement,” mentioned Howard.

As for points surrounding commodities like wine, Howard mentioned to “let the process work, let’s not over-dramatize some of the differences that are emerging.”

China’s authoritarian regime ‘a truth of life’

Howard mentioned that regardless that China has taken a extra assertive stance internationally since President Xi Jinping took workplace, its inside political system hasn’t modified that a lot — it is simply being extra rigorously enforced now than previously.

“China has been, ever since 1949, an authoritarian country run by the Chinese Communist Party, and that’s a fact of life, we have to work within that,” he added.

“You can’t expect a country that has a fundamentally different political system to agree to change that system, you have to live with that — without conceding, of course, any ground on things that are important to our own values,” he mentioned.

So as a substitute of irritating the financial ties between the 2 international locations, Australia must work to keep up its basic values whereas preserving the mutual advantages of the financial relationship with China.

“It is more than just common sense, it’s a matter of long-term sensible policy,” he mentioned.

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