The world today is a community of shared future, China and Australia need to work together to maintain peace and stability in the region and the world, Premier Li Keqiang said in Canberra.
“On the way to Australia, we flew across the clouds that were lighting but we kept flying. That is the same to China and Australia relations. It will keep moving forward, and forward, and forward, we have firm belief in that”.
Li addressed a luncheon hosted by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on March 23, following a welcoming ceremony.
The Chinese official landed in Australian capital for a five-day trip focusing on strengthening China’s economic ties with Australia — the first visit to the country by a Chinese premier in 11 years.
The terror attack in London unexpectedly topped the two officials’ discussions during their meeting on March 23. Li said that he and his Australian counterpart extend their condolences to British Prime Minister Theresa May, condemn terrorism and stand against all its forms.
Li noted he came to Australia for three reasons: free trade, peace and stability, and diverse culture.
With protectionism on the rise, Li urged all countries to seize the available globalization opportunity.
He gave China as an example, saying that China’s trade deficit with Australia amounted to $50 billion in 2016. He noted that China does not want to see unbalanced trade, and to try to solve the problem it will continue to expand imports from Australian and open up, rather than “closing doors.”
Li also announced that China would, for the first time, import chilled meat from a foreign country.
China’s agricultural products face oversupply in general, but for beef, for example, the Asian country is lagging behind in terms of price and quality compared with Australia.
Li said that China needs to buy more from Australia, which would incentivize Chinese businesses to step up their game, and make the country’s agriculture sector more competitive. He added that China would continue to work on regulation oversight and lower the tariffs.
“We are sending a joint message that we are standing together for free trade, and we will continue to encourage globalization.”
Only with peace and tranquillity in the region and the world can China concentrate on its economic development and reach out for more trade, Li stated. He noted that China is still a developing country and needs to modernize itself and grow its economy in a bid to give the Chinese people a better life.
“Throughout Chinese history, peace has always been the most precious thing. China is firmly committed to being on the path of peaceful development, and that is our tradition.”
“Zheng He was a great voyager and navigator of China in the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago. When he asked the emperor, ‘What is my mission,’ the emperor told him ‘Your job is for peace and friendship,’” said Li.
He pledged that China would never seek dominance, noting that it has already worked with Australia for peace in the region, for maritime navigation freedom, and freedom of overflight, and promised that Beijing would continue to do so.
Regarding diverse culture, Li said, although China and Australia come from different cultural backgrounds, the two have good relations and their cooperation has a solid foundation.
As for intensifying the cooperation between the two countries with greater mutual respect, Li pledged that China would continue to move forward on the grounds of independent foreign policy and consensus.
Li thanked Turnbull for his great respect for the Chinese community and the Chinese people in Australia, and expressed that China welcomes more Australian students and businessmen.
“We live in such a diverse world, and our futures are so closely tightened. Our cooperation is not only reflected in the political area, but also those in the economics and people-to-people communication.”