Meeting with China’s Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi – Opening remarks

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Pleased to see you again, Director Wang, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to meet again after the warm hospitality you showed me in Beijing last December, as we marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, and the personal contribution you have made to progress our bilateral relationship.

This relationship matters to both Australia and China, and is built on extensive links between our people, businesses and governments.

Since I visited China, more ministerial, parliamentary and official exchanges have taken place.

Respectful, frank and constructive discussions help us to navigate a pathway where we can both grow our relationship and uphold our interests.

As I have said, we can realise even greater potential for our peoples under our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

You and I have agreed in the past that a sound Australia-China relationship is not in contradiction with safeguarding our national interests, if both countries navigate our differences wisely.

In this relationship, as in all our bilateral relationships, Australia will look to our national interests.

We will speak in defence of human rights, the welfare of our citizens, the rights and freedoms of those who live in Australia, and our strategic, security and trade interests. On these, we will continue to engage and to put forward frank and principled views, both privately and publicly.

We meet here today in the centre of ASEAN to discuss the strategic issues that impact our region.

Australia looks to a region that is peaceful, stable and prosperous, in which sovereignty is respected, underpinned by the region’s institutions, rules and norms.

We welcome recent China-US engagements. We believe it is vital that China and the US arrive at a set of mutual understandings that will underwrite stability, including regular open communications and engagement at all levels.

All of us have a role contributing to safeguarding a peaceful and secure world, where sovereignty is respected and aggression condemned.

It is in this spirit that I meet you today.

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