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China asks Australia to treat it as a partner

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 10 called on his Australian counterpart Penny Wong to treat China as a partner, not an adversary.

The Chinese minister met with his counterpart after the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting held in Bali, Indonesia. Wang Yi expressed his wish to see Australia “seize the opportunity to take concrete action and understand China correctly”, according to a press release issued by his ministry.

“All the difficulties that China and Australia have had in their relationship in recent years stem from the insistence of previous Australian governments to view China as an ‘adversary’ or even a ‘threat'”Wang Yi said, adding that Canberra’s words and deeds had been “irresponsible”.


He said China-Australia relations face both challenges and opportunities as the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

For his part, theAustralian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said “Australia’s new government will continue its one-China policy and hopes to use the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations to make Australia-China ties more stable and mutually beneficial.”

The latter pointed out that “Australia does not intend to multiply its differences with China, nor to limit the development of China”, according to statements collected by Radio China International. Penny Wong described this encounter as “an important first step” for “stabilize” the relationship.

In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wang Yi blamed the deterioration of diplomatic relations in recent years on the previous Australian government, telling Penny Wong that Scott Morrison’s government was “determined to consider China as an adversary and even a threat”.

” [Le gouvernement précédent] undertook a series of irresponsible words and actions”, Wang Yi said at the meeting, according to the Chinese government statement. For China, the installation of a new government in Australia should make it possible to restore more serene relations. However, the new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, the exchanges are not expected to improve.

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Despite the latter’s statements, the Chinese minister made four general demands to the new government, stating that it “hopes the Australian side will take the opportunity to take concrete steps to reshape its correct understanding of China, reduce negative assets and create positive energy.”

  • “First, Australia must treat China as a partner, not an adversary”Wang Yi told Penny Wong, according to the statement.
  • “Secondly, we must adhere to a path of finding common ground while reserving differences.”
  • “Third, we must adhere to not being targeted or monitored by third parties”, he said, a likely reference both to Australia’s efforts to persuade South Pacific countries to abandon security deals with China and to Australia’s involvement in diplomatic initiatives led by the United States in Asia.
  • “Fourth, we must build a positive and pragmatic basis of public opinion”, he said, likely referring to expectations that Australian leaders would be more cautious in their public language as well as recent public opinion polls which strongly show sentiment in Australia towards Xi Jinping’s government. acidifying.

Anthony Albanese offered a cold response to this list, telling China that Australia was not responding to requests. “Look, Australia is not responding to requests. We are responding to our own national interest”said the Prime Minister.

“I will say this. We will cooperate with China where we can. I want to build good relations with all countries. But we will defend Australia’s interests when we have to.”added the latter.

“If Mr. Wang has indeed set out four conditions for further engagement, he is likely to be disappointed, unless China itself changes course”said Rory Medcalf, director of the National Security College at the Australian National University.

He told ABC that “our foreign minister’s observation that we have a long way to go is an understatement.” For Professor Rory Medcalf, the cautious and discreet language of the two foreign ministers is a “justification” de Australia’s bipartisan approach to China in recent years.

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