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A speech from saner times – Prime Minister Morrison expresses his support for China

On June 26, 2019, Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered a “major foreign policy address” at Asialink, in the lead-up to the 14th G20 Summit. Ttled “Where we live”, it outlined “our plan to foster an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific, consistent with our national interests.”

The following is an excerpt from that speech:

“We share a comprehensive strategic partnership and free trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China, with a broad and deep relationship underpinned by people-to-people ties; evidenced by the fact we are home to 1.2 million ethnic Chinese and are host to 1.4 million Chinese visitors and 205,000 Chinese students each year.

China’s conscious decision to pursue prosperity as a strategy for national unity and stability launched one of the world’s greatest economic miracles.

Now China is a significant power, with vast military, global interests and the biggest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity.

It is important to acknowledge that this success was made possible by the active and strategic engagement of the United States and the wider global community.

Firstly, through enthusiastic bilateral exchange and then by supporting access to the global rules-based trading system through China’s accession to the WTO in 2001, gave it much better access to the markets of 154 member economies.

This also required reforms from China that supported its rapid economic expansion.

China is now the major trading partner of more than 50 countries.

In 1980, China’s trade with the outside world amounted to less than $40 billion. By 2015, it had increased one hundredfold, to $4 trillion

China is the largest holder of foreign US currency reserves.

China’s economic rise has not been a zero sum game. This has been especially true in Australia’s case, but also for the United States.

This is why Australia has always, and will continue to, welcome China’s economic growth.

However, the ground has now shifted. It is now evident that the US believes that the rule-based trading system – in its current form – is not capable of dealing with China’s economic structure and policy practices.

Our prosperity, and that of our Indo-Pacific partners, depends strongly on the maintenance of an open global economy and a rules-based trading system.

It will also depend on a positive, productive and cooperative bilateral relationship between China and the US.

This will require the exercise of special responsibilities by these “Great Powers” to resist a narrow view of their interests.

In 1951 George Kennan wrote, in American Diplomacy:

“If our purposes and undertakings here at home are decent ones, unsullied by arrogance or hostility towards other people or delusions of superiority, then the pursuit of our national interest can never fail to be conducive to a better world.”

As a rising global power, China also now has additional responsibilities.

It is therefore important that US-China trade tensions are resolved in the broader context of their special power responsibilities, in a way that is WTO-consistent and does not undermine the interests of other parties, including Australia.

The accumulation of issues that have led to these tensions must be acknowledged, addressed and resolved at the negotiating table in a way that reinforces our open and inclusive global trading system.

Like all of us, China and the US have a strong interest, and a special responsibility, to modernise and support the system that has delivered unprecedented growth in national wealth and living standards over the last two decades.

We can support these efforts and outcomes by rejecting the fatalism of increased polarisation and resisting the analysis that only sees these issues through a binary prism.

It is in no-one’s interest in the Indo-Pacific to see an inevitably more competitive US-China relationship become adversarial in character.

All nations in our region, not just Australia, are having to adjust to this period of great power competition.

Like others who live here, Australia simply seeks the freedom to be ourselves, peacefully pursue our national interests, consistent with our values, appreciating our history and being transparent and honest about our aspirations for the future.

These shared challenges create important common ground, which is where I see Australia continuing to play an important role.

So we won’t be fazed, intimidated or fatalistic.

Of course the international environment is difficult.

Of course there are risks of further deterioration in key relationships and consequent collateral impacts on the global economy and regional stability.

There are alsopressures to decouple the Chinese and American economic systems, whether this be in technology, payments systems, financial services or other areas.

But these are not insurmountable obstacles. To think they are not does not amount to some modern form of appeasement. This is a straw man argument.

And what’s the alternative?

These risks not only can but must be mitigated, and this comes more possible when we work together.

We should not just sit back and passively await our fate in the wake of a major power contest.

This underestimates and gives up on the power of human, state and multilateral agency.

There are practical steps that we can pursue.

So we will play our part. We will not be passive bystanders.

Our approach will be based on key principles.

A commitment to open markets with trade relationships based on rules, not coercion.

An approach which builds resilience and sovereignty.

Respect for international law and the resolution of disputes peacefully, without the threat or use of coercive power.

And a commitment to cooperation and burden-sharing within strong and resilient regional architecture.

None of those principles is inconsistent with the natural instinct of sovereign nations to compete.

And It is not inevitable that competition leads to conflict.

We have already demonstrated that like-minded nations can take measures to help shape their own destiny.

We will continue to lead by example, developing our close web of relationships across and within the Indo-Pacific.

This year we hope to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an agreement that includes 16 economies and accounts for about one-third of global GDP.

It would be the first regional free trade agreement to include India and has the 10 nations of ASEAN at its core.

RCEP’s membership includes 10 out of Australia’s top 15 trading partners, account forover 60 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade, andover 70 per cent of Australia’s goods and services exports.

To conclude the agreement when leaders meet in Bangkok in November this year, I would urge leaders to send their Trade Ministers to the meeting next month in Beijing with a clear mandate to deal.

While continuing to work with other partners in the region we will also deal directly with our great and powerful friends.

Our relationship with the US has never been stronger.

Ours is a resolute and mutually beneficial alliance partnership where neither party has the need to prove anything to each other.

My Government is also committed to further enhancing our relationship with China.

Our relationship with China has many strengths.

Our trading relationship is flourishing, with two-way trade reaching a remarkable $215 billion in 2018, which benefits both countries.

Our cooperation with China through our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership goes well beyond economic issues.

We are working together across fields including health, education, and taxation, where Australia offers world-class expertise.

We’ve also been cooperating successfully to counter drug trafficking through Taskforce Blaze.

There is more we can do. That’s why we established the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations earlier this year.

The Foundation will strengthen areas where we already cooperate, deepen the already rich links across our communities, and help identify new areas for practical cooperation.

While we will be clear-eyed that our political differences will affect aspects of our engagement, we are determined that our relationship not be dominated by areas of disagreement.

The decisions we make in relation to China are based solely on our national interests, just as theirs are towards Australia, and these are sometimes hard calls to make.

But they are designed always to leave large scope for cooperation on common interests and recognise the importance of China’s economic success.

This success is good for China, it is good for Australia.

McKinsey estimates that 2.6 per cent of consumption in the rest of the world is imported from China, compared with 0.8 per cent in 2000.

Chinese imports now account for 2.0 per cent of the gross output of the rest of the world, compared with 0.4 per cent in 2000.

We welcome Chinese investment.

We have welcomed it for decades.

The stock of Chinese investment in Australia in 2018 was more than 8 times larger than a decade ago, and China is our ninth largest investor behind the USA, Japan, UK and the Netherlands.

Australia has the most liberal foreign investment regime in our region. It is not possible for Australians to invest in China in the way Chinese investments are made here. Perhaps this will change, but our policy is not framed in the context of reciprocity, but national interest.

We retain our sovereignty over these investments, especially in relation to strategic and national security considerations, but where such issues are satisfied, we would be only harming our own economic interests if we were to deny our economy access to this capital.

That is why we operate a non-discriminatory approach to investment screening.

And I note that all nations, including China, screen foreign investment.

The infrastructure needs of the region are enormous and Australia welcomes the contribution that the Belt and Road Initiative can make to regional infrastructure investment and to regional development.

Let me close by making the following observations.

There are gathering clouds in the global economy.

The trading relationship between the world’s two most important economies is under serious strain.

But an ever-worsening trajectory in this relationship is not inevitable.

We all have responsibilities to deepen patterns of co-operation, especially in the Indo-Pacific.

Australia is ready to play its part.

We embrace free trade, global engagement and an international system where we agree rules, stick to them and honour our commitments.

That is the surest path to an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

 

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26 comments

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  1. John Hanna

    Smirko now sniffing a different bum.

  2. New England Cocky

    Scummo, the self-appointed Deputy Dawg for the USA (United States of Apartheid), could not lie straight in bed and will kow-tow to any & every other politician of world status because that is about all he knows how to do.

    So allowing Benito Duddo to wake the kitchen skewer at PRC China suits his purpose because Scummo cannot be held responsible for anything Duddo says, even if it is condoned by the PMC.

    There must be an election coming because the Mainstream Media-ocrity is going silent on the achievements of the COALition. Oops!! Silly me!! There are no achievements!!

  3. Kaye Lee

    Everyone seems to forget that it was Trump having problems with China, not us, until Marise Payne chose to go on Insiders and call for an investigation into China. It was Dutton who said There will be a reset in the way the world interacts with China because of the pandemic implying they did it on purpose? And hasn’t that gone well for us.

  4. Kellie

    Billions of dollars wasted and nothing achieved.A ‘do nothing ‘ self serving,low level opportunistic government who has a care factor of zero to advance Australia and all of its people.

    Inappropriate leadership-leaking a private text and plagued by scandal ,rorts and corruption.Without a doubt the most childish action an adult could do.You hear about this sought of behaviour in the high school principal’s office.

    Australians need,deserve politicians who work to high standards.

  5. Michael Taylor

    The Australian government – while swooning over Trump – seemed to completely ignore an OECD report that Trump’s trade war with China would have cost Australia $25 billion and a loss of over 200,000 jobs (over a ten-year period).

    Time permitting, I will try and find the link.

  6. Williambtm

    Kellie, there are no Lib/Nat party ministers that will uphold all that is held in the above speech delivery by the shallow obsequious Scomo, especially when he is dictated to by the most murderous nation on our planet earth. The US of A.

    The alliance between Australia and the USA is merely a ruse to plunder the wealth and the economy of Australia.
    Please understand that the USA is a bankrupt nation.
    The USA GDP will no longer keep the lights on across the nation of the USA

    Some 15 years ago I had prepared a letter to ASIO, my letter called for a Russian military base on both the West Coast & East Coast of Australia
    The same letter held this same for a Chinese Military base on both the West Coast & East Coast of Australia.

    The purpose of my letter was to halt the prospect of a warlike or covert invasion into the nation of Australia, this same letter had restricted the USA to a middling strip of Australia from the North to the South of Australia.
    My reason for recommending this same was to prevent a USA takeover of Australia.
    No, I never received a response from Australia’s Intelligentsia, these same would have thought my recommendations as preposterous in their extreme.

    The world’s most fearsome and untrusted country around our world today is none other than the USA.

  7. ajogrady

    This is how good the “good economics managers” are.
    Is it possible the Morrison government is attempting to make a political virtue of the disaster it stumbled into creating. Both the trade flow between China and our supposed “allies” and the diplomatic manoeuvring of the United States point to Australia’s folly in leading the attack on China. Now a new study from the UTS Australia-China Relations Institute shows we have already been left on a trade rock. The US and other “allies” have happily grabbed the economic opportunities our wombat warriors created for them.
    Rather than “standing with us” and “having our back”, they’ve been eating our lunch. In January-September 2021, the PRC’s imports from Australia of 12 disrupted goods fell by $US12.6 billion ($17.3 billion), compared with 2019. The biggest beneficiary was Australia’s security ally, the US, which increased sales of the same goods to the PRC by $US4.6 billion ($6.3 billion). Canada and New Zealand increased their sales by $US1.1 billion and $US786 million, respectively.”
    This is what the L/NP consider strong and good economic management. It would be laughable if it had not cost so many livelyhoods and businesses.
    This is what the “good economic managers” the L/NP have done to many mum and dad export businesses, killed them.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/2021/11/30/michael-pascoe-wombat-warriors-china/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20News%20-%2020211130

    Is Australia a sovereign nation or just a puppet of the USA.

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/public-inquiry-is-showing-australias-unheard-call-for-new-foreign-policy,15748

  8. Terence Mills

    He was lying !

  9. Phil Pryor

    We have no hope with this P M in office, backed by a scabrous scrum of political scraps and a media of manipulating maggots. He is lower than a nematode’s nuts, an imitator of literacy, a faker, backstabber, nonhoseholding bludger and a chronic, dedicated liar. Disgusting…

  10. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, posts like this are very important.

    People need to see Morrison’s record on hypocrisies and lies. The LNP can’t find much dirt on Albanese so they’ll invent all sorts of crap.

    I’ve even seen right-wingers on Twitter linking Albo to the Petrov Affair! Albo – and this must be very annoying to whoever is working on the dirt file – wasn’t even born at the time of the Petrov Affair.

    There’s going to be some absolute rubbish thrown at us between now and the election.

  11. Kaye Lee

    October 2019

    Australian Army members have travelled to China to take part in the annual bilateral adventure training Exercise PANDAROO, which begins on Hainan Island today.

    First held in 2015, Exercise PANDAROO is an example of the constructive military engagement undertaken as part of Australia’s defence relationship with China.

    https://news.defence.gov.au/media/media-releases/exercise-pandaroo-commences-china

    November 2015

    The Royal Australian Navy will today conduct “live fire” exercises alongside Chinese warships, not far from the disputed artificial islands of the South China Sea.

    https://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2015/s4343293.htm?site=westernplains

    December 2015

    After the 18th Defence Strategic Dialogue between Australia and China, The Australian reported that this meeting was accompanied by an agreement to ‘upgrade’ Australia-China defence and security relations, including stepped-up cooperation on counter-terrorism, peacekeeping and senior personnel exchanges. The newspaper heralded this as a ‘positive sign of a maturing bilateral relationship’.

    https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/chinas-puzzling-defence-agreement-australia

    For the past six years [2014-19], regardless of tensions experienced across the region, Australia has played host to a trilateral military exercise involving the United States and China…the Kowari exercise takes place each September in the tropical forests and waterways of either Queensland or the Northern Territory.

    https://thediplomat.com/2019/09/a-quiet-kowari-us-australia-and-china-trilateral-military-exercise/

  12. Harry Lime

    You’d think by now everyone has worked out that Morrison will do or say anything that he thinks will give him a win on the day.Mr. “transactional” cares for nothing but himself.The only difference between him and Trump is the combover.The stark fact of him fucking this country over is of no consequence to him.If the shit hits the fan in Eastern Europe,we are going to find ourselves friendless.And we’d better get used to riding bikes and growing our own vegetables.At least we’ve had a shit hot summer in my neck of the woods.Might be an idea to learn mandarin as well.

  13. Kaye Lee

    7 February, 2018 George Brandis Final speech

    I have heard some powerful voices argue that the Coalition should open a political front against the Labor party on the issue of domestic national security. I could not disagree more strongly. One of the main reasons why the government has earned the confidence of the public on national security policy is that there has never been a credible suggestion that political motives have intruded. Were it to do so, confidence not just in the government’s handling of national security, but in the agencies themselves, would be damaged and their capacity to do their work compromised. Nothing could be more irresponsible than to hazard the safety of the public by creating a confected dispute for political advantage. To his credit, the prime minister has always resisted such entreaties.

  14. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    That was my intention, to collect together the quotes and links so people can see the hypocrisy. George Brandis’ speech shows this has been a strategy some time in the making.

    As I pointed out earlier, pre-pandemic we were courting China. The rot started when Dutton and Payne started blaming China for the pandemic. It’s been downhill from there.

  15. Michael Taylor

    I always wondered – when push comes to shove – who the federal government would align themselves to: our mightiest military partner, or our largest trading partner.

    I confess they were given a tough choice. But at least we now know the answer.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    There is absolutely no reason for Australia to be shooting its mouth off about any sort of military crap. As Morrison said in the speech, ” Australia simply seeks the freedom to be ourselves, peacefully pursue our national interests, consistent with our values, appreciating our history and being transparent and honest about our aspirations for the future.”

    No-one is going to invade us. That just is not a reality by any stretch of the imagination.

    America makes a bit of noise about Taiwan but no-one did anything about Hong Kong. And the Taiwanese don’t seem as worried about it as we are. It’s not our fight. We should close our mouths in public. Diplomacy via the Murdoch media is crazy.

    We are being more belligerent to and about China than America is. They were happy to fill the export gaps that China’s sanctions against us caused.

    I remember the debacle caused when Morrison said he was moving our embassy to Jerusalem without pre-warning our military and diplomats stationed overseas.

    Trump’s playbook should be ripped up.

  17. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, couldn’t agree more. Morrison et al need a good lesson on how to keep their mouths shut. Especially Dutton. The man is a dangerous, ticking time bomb.

  18. Terence Mills

    On the laser issue.

    It would be normal diplomatic procedure for minister Marise Payne minister for foreign affairs to call in the Chinese Ambassador to note our protest.

    As far as I can see, there has been a lot of hot air and Morrison fog-horning but no action on the ground.

    Have I missed something ?

  19. Lawriejay

    I understand Scooter Morrison is in Tasmania today ‘Holding a Hose’ – saving the deck chairs from burn out?
    Lawriejay

  20. GL

    Lawriejay, I wondered why there has been a distinct 1 metre tilt to the right of the land this morning. My coffee cup keeps sliding off the desk.

    Not only is Saint Scummo here but so is “10 fingers and toes” Friedeggburger is here as well backing him on the non-election election campaign bullshit.

  21. wam

    Imagine if labor had signed a FTA with china that saw our tariffs on chinese goods abolished in 2015 but some chinese tariffs are still applied till 2024. Would the rabbott have been silent? A may 2018 letter to a member of the national party’s central council who was praising the government and ridiculing little billy.. ‘More recent history involves robb erring prick that he was. Note his political term finished on the election day 2016 but he started a $750000 part time job with the chinese on friday.u trust the federal government to accept an agreement that they have kept secret?? Do you trust an FTA that allows China to keep tariffs till 2024 and Australia till 2015. Do you think you will remember or care about these incidents by the election? Does it bother you that the clp has leased the port to the Chinese? Do you know any tradie with these qualifications -Automotive Electrician, Cabinetmaker, Carpenter and Joiner, Diesel Motor Mechanic, Electrician, Motor and Motorcycle Mechanic? Any of the 1.5 billion chinese has access to a two year visa without any skill testing or direct testing the Aust labour market?’ Sit back, labor, as usual or do some research for yourself and see the crap this gov does to tick a box. ps In the 13th century China had the naval force to conquer europe but, like the orange man, put china first and let the ‘fungoi’ get the gun powder which gave us a 800 year dominance. So we could have been speaking chinese before the english language was out of the hovels. They may not be so insular this time. If a himalaya agreement is formed then world commerce will be centred in asia with europe and the septics trailing along behind?
    pps the laser is the sighter we see on the tele when marksman are about to kill.
    It must have put the wind up the pilot. You are right, terence, it is only a marketing ploy but it has controversy so it is valued by tv and dutton they will milk the shit out of it.

  22. GL

    I thought the Libs didn’t have factions and never fought amongst themselves. That is was only Labor because they weren’t all one big happy team like the Libs. The Libs are the bestest at everything.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/court-action-launched-to-challenge-scott-morrison-s-key-ally-20220221-p59y8c.html

    Now we have DoPe closing the Sydney rail network down and blaming Labor and the union for them throwing a massive tantrum and taking their toot-toot trains home from the sandbox. Effing wanker and cretin. What’s the bet that Scummo and Crony Co. Inc. jump on it and use it as part of their now stench laden Clayton’s electioneering.

  23. Terence Mills

    If you wondered if the NSW government were playing politics by shutting out rail workers and closing down the rail network, the NSW Transport Minister David Elliott sort of gave the game away today when he said :

    “……… the actions of the union were nothing short of industrial bastardry. This is not anything but a part of the Labor Party’s campaign to bully the electorate into supporting their election. I don’t think the people of New South Wales are going to buy it.”

    I don’t think the electorate will buy that either, Mr Elliott !

  24. Canguro

    Terence, this is the same David Elliott who when acting in the role as the NSW police minister said at the time of the public enquiry into the illegal strip-searching of minors without evidence or the presence of an adult rep that he’d be entirely happy for his children to be thus abused. What a guy! Tough with the language, and to hell with the consequences. His blustering angered attack on the unions and the Labor party was entirely erroneous… so once again we are treated to a display of weasel language and lies by a person in power, just as…

    …Morrison’s bellicose attack on Putin, when the vox-pop front bar view on the contretemps currently dominating the attention of the western media and political class would suggest that the Russia v Ukraine issue is waaaay down the list of urgencies that pester our imaginations; once again, a politician who will willingly throw dead birds in the air and shout ‘Look over there, a dead bird!’, in order to shift attention away from their miserable failure as a person, a professional, a responsible being. Who is this man’s audience, with his faux outrage at something that doesn’t concern him or the Australian populace? Is he auditioning for a Tony Abbott replacement role, per shirt-fronting, or hoping to join the loser’s club, post-election, where he can sip shandies with other notable losers, Dutton, Friedburger et al? Hard to say, given the Chicken Little venality behind the mask.

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