Australia urges more stable relation with 'great power' China
Australian FM meets with his Chinese counterpart to discuss trade relations, the war in Ukraine, and stabilizing an alliance between the two nations.
Amid experiencing tension in ties with its largest trading partner, China, due to trade differences, origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and accusations of Chinese interference, Australia announced its intentions on strengthening the relationship as its foreign minister urges China to help end the war in Ukraine in its capacity as a "great power".
Following her meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Thursday, at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong told reporters, "I think it is a long road on which many steps will have to be taken by both parties to a more stable relationship... in terms of issues of difference, obviously first amongst them is the issue of trade blockages, and that is the issue I focused on at the outset."
According to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Saturday about the meeting, the Chinese Minister highlighted the significance of stable bilateral ties, calling for them to be resilient and not prone to "accidents", considering the 50 years of diplomatic relations between both nations.
In April of this year, China accused Australia's Defense Minister of slander and "wild remarks" after his recent statement, saying that Australians should "prepare for war."
“Certain Australian politicians often seek selfish political gains by making wild remarks to smear China and clamor for a war,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday. “Such despicable moves are seen through by the Chinese people and the international community.”
Wang commented that China is willing to "properly resolve differences and promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations" while Wong asked China, as one of the five permanent, veto-exercising members of the UN Security Council (P5), to aid in ending the war in Ukraine.
"China is a great power," she said. At the meeting she called "constructive", Wong added, "We encourage China as a P5 member with a special responsibility to uphold the UN charter to use its influence to end the war." She further described the war on Ukraine as illegal and labeled President Vladimir Putin's statement on using nuclear weapons as "unthinkable and irresponsible."
Thursday's meeting marked the second of the two nations in three months and comes with Australia's newly elected Labor government that aims to restore the nation's ties after a fall during the previous conservative government. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles condemned the previous government, stating "there was a belligerence" in its tone that needed to be changed.