China, Aus­tralia to re­set ties with FMs’ meet­ing

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Leng Shumei

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.

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