Premier Li Keqiang’s humorous talk of beef and chicken showed his diplomatic wisdom and opened the door for cooperation between China and Australia.
At the welcome ceremony on March 23, Premier Li displayed his humor while addressing the event.
“I saw a copy of The Australian on the table in my room when I checked in yesterday. The headline of a report covering my visit said I came here ‘for the beef market’. So I asked the waiter just now if there is beef on the menu today, and he said no beef, only chicken,” he said.
The hall then burst into laughter.
“As you know, Australia’s beef is attractive in price and quality, and so is China’s chicken. My visit is not only for the free trade of beef and chicken but also for many other issues. I come for free trade. It’s a pity that I don’t have beef today, but this will not shake our resolution in opening up,” he added.
Premier Li’s humorous remark left a deep impression on Australia’s political and business leaders, as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mentioned the beef-and-chicken remark at the beginning of their meeting the next day.
He joked about the beef and chicken again in a speech at a forum on China-Australia economic and trade cooperation in Sydney on March 24.
“There was no beef in yesterday’s lunch. According to Australia’s vice prime minister, all the good beef has been exported to China. But we were served chicken. I guessed that the host wanted to show the principle of fair trade. As China’s chicken is competitive in the world market, I believe that Chinese chicken can also be served on tables in Australia.”
Premier Li’s humor diluted skepticism about pushing back against globalization. In fact, his humor became a key point at diplomatic events, opening doors for people to understand the future of free trade between China and Australia and showing the promise that free trade can bring benefits to people.
It also sent a signal to the world that China and Australia will firmly maintain free trade and promote economic globalization.