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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 crucial one, mentioned John Howard, former Australian prime minister.

“The connection economically between Australia and China is essential, and there are tensions in that relationship and so they should 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 pressure, with Beijing launching an investigation into some wine imports from Australia final month, following actions on different commodity imports. 

“I actually do not suppose in any approach Australia ought to get right into a state of affairs of giving up on its relationship with China; it is crucial to us. Our commodity exports (like) iron ore, coal and the likes are crucial to the Australian economic system,” mentioned Howard, who was in workplace from 1996 to 2007.

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

The current downward spiral within the China-Australia relationship was triggered by Canberra’s name for a world 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 method to its relationship with China — whilst tensions between the U.S. — Canberra’s closest ally — and China simmer.

“I do not suppose we must always permit ourselves to be outlined by whom to help between China and the US. We will have good relations with each of these international locations, albeit of a distinct form, as a result of we’re totally different societies,” he mentioned.

“I see the the bilateral relationship between Australia and China as one thing that now we have to take care of and nurture in response to our personal specific pursuits, at all times remembering, in fact, that we’re a part of a bunch of Western international locations that imagine in some basic values,” Howard added.

As a substitute, Australia and China want to search out some consensus regardless of their totally different histories and political programs, he mentioned.

“It is tremendously essential in these troublesome instances, significantly towards the background of the pandemic, to take a balanced method, to attempt to discover areas of frequent settlement,” mentioned Howard.

As for points surrounding commodities like wine, Howard mentioned to “let the method work, let’s not over-dramatize among the variations which might be rising.”

China’s authoritarian regime ‘a reality of life’

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

“China has been, ever since 1949, an authoritarian nation run by the Chinese language Communist Celebration, and that is a reality of life, now we have to work inside that,” he added.

“You may’t count on a rustic that has a essentially totally different political system to agree to alter that system, it’s a must to dwell with that — with out conceding, in fact, any floor on issues which might be essential to our personal values,” he mentioned.

So as an alternative 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’s extra than simply frequent sense, it is a matter of long-term wise coverage,” he mentioned.

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