China, Australia should cherish positive momentum of steady growth in ties: Chinese Foreign Minister
Published: Mar 03, 2023 03:48 AM
China Australia Photo: VCG

China Australia Photo: VCG

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in New Delhi on Thursday local time, during which Qin said the two sides should cherish the positive momentum of stabilizing and improving bilateral relations, and properly handle differences and address each other's legitimate concerns.

China and Australia should implement the important consensus reached at the Bali summit, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and cherish the positive momentum of stabilizing and improving bilateral relations. The important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022 was the first formal meeting between the leaders of the two countries in six years.

The two countries have restarted or resumed institutional dialogue and consultation on diplomacy, economy and trade, and should continue to promote dialogue and exchanges at all levels. The two sides should view and properly handle differences and address each other's legitimate concerns, the Chinese foreign minister said.

We hope that the Australian side will provide a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises to invest and develop in Australia, Qin noted.

Wong wished the upcoming two sessions, China's key political events, a full success and said that sound Australia-China relations are in the common interests of both sides.

Wong reiterated that she would stick to managing the differences between the two countries. Australia will jointly implement the outcomes of the new round of Australia-China diplomatic and strategic dialogue and fully supports the resumption of more institutional dialogues between the two countries.

Australia-China economic, trade and investment cooperation is mutually beneficial and Australia welcomes Chinese investment in Australia and will treat Chinese companies on an equal footing, the Australian foreign minister said.

Ministerial level dialogues between China and Australia have resumed last year, leading up to the ground-breaking meeting between the two heads of state during the G20 summit last mid-November, which, as Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong has commented, signified "an important step toward the stabilization of our relationship." 

The economic and trade relations between China and Australia are the ballast stone and booster of bilateral ties. As trade has been steadily on the rise, it is predictable that China-Australia relations will be restored and even strengthened, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Data has showed that China-Australia trade has been carried out normally, disclosing that in 2022, bilateral trade in goods exceeded $220 billion, bringing tangible benefits to the businesses and people of the two countries.

Political wisdom of Canberra is needed to manage such differences between the two countries so as to boost bilateral ties, said Chen, noting this can help Australia's economic recovery after the pandemic and other national interests. The expert warned Canberra to not serve Washington's anti-China strategy.

The Australian foreign minister said that China is a key force in promoting world peace, stability and prosperity. It is hoped that China will play an important role in resolving the Ukraine crisis.

Qin emphasized that on the Ukraine issue, the core of China's position is to promote peace and talks. China has called for a ceasefire and a cessation of war from the very beginning, and a political settlement of the crisis through diplomatic negotiations, and will continue to play a constructive role in this regard, Qin said.

Chen believes Penny's mention of the Ukraine crisis during the meeting with Qin was a response to the US-led Western camp as the US and its allies including Australia have been trying to bring China into the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Instead of joining the US to intensify the regional tensions, Chen called on Australia to play a proactive role with China in the Asia-Pacific region.

At a time when the Ukraine crisis overshadows the world's multilateral cooperation platforms, Qin Gang called on G20 member countries on Thursday to uphold the UN-centered international system and reject power politics and bloc confrontation, underscoring China's role in safeguarding multilateralism.  

The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. Faced with a volatile international situation and rising global challenges, the G20 must rise to the occasion, enhance cooperation, and contribute its share to global development and prosperity, Qin said at the G20 (FMM) Session I on Thursday.