Chinese premier calls for China-Australia ties back to normal track


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison hold the seventh annual meeting between the heads of government of the two countries on the sidelines of a series of leaders' meetings on East Asian cooperation in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 3, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

BANGKOK, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Sunday that China and Australia should step up joint efforts to enhance mutual understanding and trust, properly handle differences, and return bilateral ties to the normal track.

Li made the remarks in a meeting in Bangkok with his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, on the sidelines of a series of leaders' meetings on East Asian cooperation. Sunday's meeting was the seventh annual meeting between the two heads of government.

Li said that a sound and stable China-Australia relationship will not only bring benefits to both peoples, but also contribute to regional and global stability and development.

Noting there is no historical grievance or conflict of fundamental interests between China and Australia, Li said the two sides should keep to the general direction of the bilateral relationship, truly regard each other's development as an opportunity, conduct constructive exchanges and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, step up joint efforts to enhance mutual understanding and trust, properly handle differences, return bilateral ties to the normal track and push for steady and sustained development of bilateral relations.

Li pointed out that the China-Australia cooperation does not undermine the interests of any third party, will not be targeted at any third party, and should not be affected by any third party.

As important economic and trade partners to each other, the two sides should join their hands as the world economy is facing increasing downward pressure, he added.

Stressing that China is implementing measures to expand opening-up in the service sector, which will provide important opportunities for all countries, including Australia, Li said China is willing to continue to conduct exchanges and cooperation with the Australian side on trade, energy, finance, education and climate change.

He also expressed the hope that the Australian side can meet China halfway and work hard to ensure a sound and steady development of bilateral relations.

For his part, Morrison congratulated on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

He said China's development is a miracle in human history, and expressed his admiration for China's efforts to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the past few decades.

Morrison said the Australian side attaches great importance to its relations with China and is committed to promoting the development of Australia-China relations.

Bilateral cooperation between the two sides has seen positive results in the fields of trade, environmental protection, non-governmental exchanges and international students, bringing practical benefits to both countries, he said.

He said Australia, as a sovereign state, does not need to choose between Australia-China relations and Australia-U.S. relations, and will deal with China independently.

Stressing the Australia-China relationship is not a bargain, Morrison said as comprehensive strategic partners, the two sides share broad interests in bilateral and global fields. The Australian side looks forward to resuming exchanges and cooperation in various fields with China as soon as possible.