Chinese language supporters rally exterior Parliament Home through the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay by way of Canberra, Australia on April 24, 2008.
Torsten Blackwood | AFP | Getty Photographs
SINGAPORE — Australia and China want to search out widespread 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 they usually must 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 stress, 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 method Australia ought to get right into a scenario 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 latest 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 strategy 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 enable 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 sort, 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 we’ve to take care of and nurture based on our personal specific pursuits, at all times remembering, in fact, that we’re a part of a gaggle of Western international locations that consider in some elementary values,” Howard added.
As a substitute, Australia and China want to search out some consensus regardless of their totally different histories and political methods, he mentioned.
“It is tremendously necessary in these tough instances, significantly in opposition to the background of the pandemic, to take a balanced strategy, to attempt to discover areas of widespread settlement,” mentioned Howard.
As for points surrounding commodities like wine, Howard mentioned to “let the method work, let’s not over-dramatize a few of the variations which are rising.”
China’s authoritarian regime ‘a truth of life’
Howard mentioned that although 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 nation run by the Chinese language Communist Occasion, and that is a truth of life, we’ve to work inside that,” he added.
“You possibly can’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 are necessary to our personal values,” he mentioned.
So as a substitute of irritating the financial ties between the 2 international locations, Australia must work to keep up its elementary values whereas preserving the mutual advantages of the financial relationship with China.
“It’s extra than simply widespread sense, it is a matter of long-term wise coverage,” he mentioned.