November 9, 2022
BEIJING – China and Australia pledged on Tuesday to properly address each other’s concerns and make steady efforts to improve their relationship, as positive signs have emerged in improving bilateral ties.
During a phone call with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Australia is willing to properly deal with concrete issues between the two countries in a responsible manner and make steady efforts to improve and strengthen its ties with China.
As sound Australia-China ties are not contradictory to safeguarding each other’s national interests, she said Canberra does not intend to magnify existing disputes.
Bilateral ties have been strained over various issues concerning trade disputes, human rights and geopolitics as some political forces in Australia have viewed China as a rival, not a partner.
While pledging continuous commitment to the one-China policy, the Australian foreign minister said Canberra is ready to develop more stable and mutually beneficial relations with Beijing based on mutual respect.
Positive changes have taken place in bilateral ties through unremitting efforts, Wong said, adding that the two countries have maintained effective communication and engagement in recent times.
Signs of resetting bilateral ties have emerged since Australia’s new government took office in May. Prior to the call, the two foreign ministers met in person in July and September. The defense ministers of the two countries have also held talks.
Wang called on the two countries to rebuild mutual trust, gradually address each other’s legitimate concerns to put ties back on the right track and positively contribute to tackling current global challenges.
Noting the two sides’ shared interests far outweigh their differences, Wang said the detente and improvement of China-Australia relations conform to the fundamental interests of both countries, and meet the common expectations of the two peoples and the international community.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Australia. The positive progress in bilateral relations is encouraging, said Chinese Consul-General in Brisbane Ruan Zongze in an article published in The Global Times, adding that important consensus reached during high-level exchanges is of great significance to the next phase of the development of bilateral ties.
Ruan said the experience from history is that the two countries will both gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation.
Lin Duo, research fellow of China Institute of International Studies’ Department for Asia-Pacific Studies, urged Australia to get rid of the Cold War mentality, discard confrontational postures against China and stop misinterpreting China’s rise as so-called threats.
“Instead of jumping on Washington’s bandwagon of containing Beijing, Canberra should form an independent and consistent China policy as soon as possible to recover bilateral ties,” said Lin.