On the occasion of the Singapore summit, Howard said on Wednesday, “The relationship between Australia and China is very important financially, and there are tensions in that relationship and they have to get involved.”
The relationship between the two countries is fraught with tension, with action on imports of other commodities, starting with an investigation into some wine imports from Australia last month.
“I certainly should not be in a position to leave Australia’s relationship with China in any way, it is very important to us. Our commodity exports (eg) iron ore, coal and the like are very important to Australians Economy, ”said Howard, who was in office from 1996 to 2007.
China is one of Australia’s major trading partners, with the Asian economic superpower purchasing more of the downstream produced commodity products.
A recent downward spiral in the Sino-Australia relationship was triggered by Canberra’s call for an international investigation into the origins of coronovirus, first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Howard did not refer to the investigation, but stressed the need for Australia to take a balanced approach to its relationship with China – even as tensions between the US – Canberra’s closest ally – and China.
He said, “I don’t think we should allow ourselves to be defined for support between China and the US. We can have good relations with those two countries, even if they are separate societies,” we said . .
“I see the bilateral relationship between Australia and China as something that we have to participate in and nurture according to our own special interests, always remembering, of course, that we are part of a group of Westerners who Some believe in core values, “Howard added.
Instead, Australia and China need some consensus, despite their different histories and political systems.
“It is very important in these difficult times, especially against the backdrop of the epidemic, to try and find areas of general agreement, to have a balanced approach,” Howard said.
For issues with nearby items such as alcohol, Howard said “let the process work, let’s not eliminate some of the differences that are emerging.”
China’s authoritarian rule ‘a fact of life’
Howard said that even though China has taken a more vocal stance internationally since President Xi Jinping took office, its internal political system has not changed so much – it is now more strictly enforced than in the past Happening.
He said, “China is an authoritarian country run by the Chinese Communist Party since 1949, and it is a fact of life, we have to work within it.”
“You can’t expect a country that has a fundamentally different political system to agree to change that system, you have to live with that – without any guessing, of course, on those things Any grounds that are important to our own values, ”he said. .
Therefore rather than frustrating the economic relations between the two countries, Australia needs to work to maintain its fundamental values while preserving the mutual benefits of economic relations with China.
“It’s more than common knowledge, it’s a matter of long-term prudence policy,” he said.