China envoy calls for ‘rational’ view, defends Taiwan drills | Business and Economy

China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian said the change of government in Canberra offered an ‘opportunity to reset’ relations.

China’s top envoy to the country says Australia’s recent government change offers an “opportunity to reset” ties with China, but more needs to be done to repair ties. tense trade relations between the parties.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian said the relationship was at an “important bottom line” after the two countries’ foreign ministers met last month for the first time. first after three years.

“It is very important for both sides to stay motivated and take actions to make substantive progress and work to get our bilateral relations back on track,” Xiao said.

Xiao said that while China’s policy of “friendship and cooperation” remained unchanged, Australia could adopt a “pragmatic and positive policy” and “objective and reasonable perception” towards the country. themselves to improve the relationship.

“We can be partners regardless of differences in political systems and stages of development,” he said.

Xiao also targeted the media’s “false” and “negative” coverage of China, which he said had damaged the relations between the peoples of the countries.

“It is simply difficult to find positive news about China,” he said.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Bali, describing their talks as “the first step to stabilizing the relationship”.

The meeting comes after the centre-left Labor Party came to power in May, ending nearly a decade of conservative governance in Australia, and at the same time with a severe deterioration in relations with Australia’s largest trading partner. this country.

China imposes tariffs and other trade restrictions on billions of dollars of Australian exports starting in 2020 after then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19, marking the culmination of years of heightened tension over national security and human rights issues.

James Laurenceson, director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, said the envoy’s remarks did not signal any major breakthrough in the relationship or “specific issues such as trade”. and consular cases”.

Laurenceson told Al Jazeera: “The ambassador also brought up Beijing’s talking points around Taiwan, etc., as you would expect. “He maintains a reputation as friendly, willing to come out and discuss issues and talk about the Australia-China relationship in general.”

On Wednesday, Xiao also defended Beijing’s continued military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, following a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island last week.

Xiao said there was “no room” for compromise over the “one China” policy and Beijing would not rule out other means to achieve “reunification” with the island if peace efforts failed. .

“What does ‘all necessary means’ mean?’ You can use your imagination,” he said.

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