The meeting of Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has produced much-needed positive signal for bilateral relations.
On Friday, the two countries’ foreign ministers held the first ever face-to-face meeting since 2019, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers' meeting held in Bali, Indonesia
On Friday, the two countries’ foreign ministers held the first ever face-to-face meeting since 2019, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers' meeting held in Bali, Indonesia.
Wang said the healthy development of bilateral relationship suits the common interests of both peoples and helps safeguard the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia’s Wong said their meeting has taken the “first step towards stabilizing the relationship”.
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“My reaction to the Wang-Wong meeting is that it's the most hopeful sign for a while,” said Colin Mackerras, emeritus professor at Griffith University and one of Australia's leading Sinologists.
“I hope very much that there are better times ahead (for Sino Australia relationship) and think it's a reasonable hope, not just blind optimism,” Mackerras noted.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Wang said the Chinese side is willing to reexamine and re-calibrate bilateral relationship, based on mutual respect, and make efforts to bring it back on the right track.
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For her part, Wong said Australia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with extensive associations and frequent economic and trade exchanges, which have benefited the people of both countries.
The new Australian government will continue its one-China policy and hopes to take the advantage of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations to make Australia-China ties become more stable and mutually beneficial, she said.
Australia has no intention of expanding its differences with China, nor joining the containment of China, Wong noted.
She said her country will, by respecting each other and adopting a rational and pragmatic attitude, maintain constructive contacts and exchanges between the two sides, increase mutual trust, expand cooperation on the basis of equality, and work to remove existing barriers in bilateral relations.
Though Wong seemed to adopt the moral high ground in a rather high-handed manner, “her statement afterwards was brief but reasonable and gave me hope in a way we haven't seen for a while”, said Mackerras.
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During the meeting, Wang said the root cause of the difficulties in bilateral relations over the past few years was the former Australian government's insisting on regarding China as a rival or even a threat, allowing its words and deeds being irresponsible against China.
He expressed hope that the Australian side would seize the current opportunity and take actions to improve bilateral relationship.
Xinhua contributed to this report.