China, Australia to reset ties with FMs’ meeting
China-Australia relations will sail off again, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said after meeting his Australian counterpart Marise Payne in Beijing on Thursday.
It was the first dialogue between China and Australia following the establishment of the latter’s new government, a major development since relations between the two countries experienced ups and downs, Wang said in a statement released on the Foreign Ministry website on Thursday.
Wang said that both sides have agreed to firmly improve bilateral ties, safeguard free market and promote regional prosperity and stability.
Han Feng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ National Institute of International Strategy, told the Global Times that China and Australia share hopes for a stable and open global order, which is now threatened by the US’ “America First” policy and trade protectionism.
“The two countries should take these challenges seriously to adjust their domestic structure while establishing a new bilateral relationship,” Han noted.
A stable and healthy bilateral relationship not only benefits people from both countries but also promotes peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, the statement said.
Since the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement took effect in 2015, the two countries have been removing taxes. Starting January 2019, they will remove taxes for the last time, when almost all the commodities will be duty-free.
China never engages in trade protectionism, and welcomes qualified Australian products. At the same time, China hopes Australia can provide an open and more impartial environment for Chinese investment, according to the statement.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday announced his government’s intention to block Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure’s proposed $13 billion acquisition of Australian gas pipeline owner APA as it is “contrary to national interests,” the Australian Financial Review reported.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne shake hands during a news conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Thursday.