SINGAPORE – John Howard, former Australian Prime Minister, said Australia and China need to find common ground despite their differences, as the economic relationship between the two countries is an important one.
On Wednesday, Howard said on the sidelines of the conference, “The economic relationship between Australia and China is very important, and there are tensions in that relationship and we should pay attention to it.” Singapore summit.
“I certainly do not believe in any way that Australia should go into a situation where it abandoned its relationship with China; it is very important to us. Our commodity exports (such as) iron ore, coal and the like are very important to Australia,” said Howard, who was In office from 1996 to 2007.
China is one of Australia’s major trading partners, as the Asian economic powerhouse buys much of the commodity products produced in Down Under.
Howard did not mention the investigation, but stressed the need for Australia to take a balanced approach to its relationship with China – even as tensions run high between the United States – Canberra’s closest ally – and China.
“I don’t think we should allow ourselves to determine who we support between China and the United States. We can establish good relations with both countries, albeit of a different kind, because we are two different societies,” he said. .
“I see the bilateral relationship between Australia and China as something that we should take care of and nurture according to our own interests, and we always remember, of course, that we are part of a group of Western countries that believe in some core values,” Howard added.
Instead, he said, Australia and China need to find some consensus despite their different histories and political systems.
“It is extremely important in these difficult times, especially against the background of the pandemic, to follow a balanced approach and try to find areas of common agreement,” Howard said.
On issues surrounding commodities like wine, Howard said, “Let’s get it worked, let’s not exaggerate some of the emerging differences.”
China’s authoritarian regime ‘a fact of life’
Howard said that although China has taken a more assertive stance on the international level since assuming the presidency Xi Jinping He took office, and his internal political system hasn’t changed much – it’s being enforced more strictly now than it was in the past.
“China has been, since 1949, an authoritarian state run by the Chinese Communist Party, and this is a fact of life, and we must work within the framework of that,” he added.
“You can’t expect a country with a radically different political system to agree to change that system, you have to live with that – without, of course, compromising any basis on things important to our values,” he said. .
So instead of frustrating economic ties between the two countries, Australia needs to work to preserve its core values while preserving the mutual benefits of the economic relationship with China.
“It is more than just sound logic, it is a matter of long-term rational policy,” he said.