Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that while Australia has always been open to discussing any of the Chinese regime’s issues, he will not approach dialogues on the basis that the country will acquiesce to Beijing’s demands.
The remarks come after Opposition Labor Leader Anthony Albanese proposed that Morrison seek the help of former prime ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd to reset the souring Australia-China relationship.
Chinese officials have previously claimed that the bilateral problems lie with Australia, and officials from its embassy in Canberra released a list of 14 grievances it had with Australia.
The communist regime indicated it wants these issues addressed before engaging in diplomatic dialogues with the Morrison government.
But Morrison said he’s made it clear that discussions won’t take place on the basis of pre-emptive concessions on Australia’s part. “I don’t think any Australian would want their Prime Minister to be conceding the points that they’ve set out,” Morrison said.
He said that Australia’s relationship with China was important, but pointed out that the relationship was important to China too.
“But it is a relationship that will be pursued on the basis of Australia’s national interests, and without in any way compromising Australia’s sovereignty,” the prime minister said.
Australia’s relationship with China has been at its lowest point in recent years after the Chinese regime launched an unofficial trade war on Australian exports.
This came with increasingly hostile diplomatic messaging directed at Australia after Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
Morrison’s response comes as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data on Monday showing Australia had grown its trade surplus to a record high of $9 billion up from $7.4 billion in November, despite the Chinese regime’s coercive economic efforts.
The ABS reported that exports from Australia to China grew 21 percent due to China’s hunger for iron ore.
On Monday, Albanese said he had written to the prime minister urging him to consult with former Rudd and Howard, both he said had significant relationships with China.
“It’s very clear that when Australian jobs in industries as diverse as wine, education, the timber industry, coal and other exports are under threat because of what has occurred with the breakdown in the relationship and China’s actions,” Albanese said. “You need to find a way through.”
Albanese said that although the Chinese regime was at fault, a “circuit breaker” was needed to move forward.
But he noted it was important that it should be one that does not compromise Australia’s values.
The prime minister said that he had in fact consulted Howard and Rudd on the government’s approach to China.