Extracts from Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular Press Conference on May 22, 2018
Q: According to foreign media reports, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had a candid talk for an hour on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. After that, Foreign Minister Bishop said she would visit China shortly. Some media previously said that she paid no visit to China in the past two years or so, which indicated that China-Australia relations are facing difficulties. Could you give us more details on this meeting between the two foreign ministers?
A: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop at her request on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Argentina. The Chinese side has issued detailed information about their meeting. We can conclude from the released information that the Australian side talked about its thinking on and raised some expectations for improving relations with China. On the Chinese part, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi approached our bilateral relations at a fundamental and macro level, making it clear to Foreign Minister Bishop that for a sound China-Australia relationship to work out, one fundamental issue needs to be sorted out, which is that the Australian side must adopt a correct perspective.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi clearly pointed out that first, China-Australia relations have recently faced difficulties, which even dampened our exchanges and cooperation, and that is something China does not wish to see. Second, China has noticed the various positive statements recently made by senior Australian officials, including by Ms. Bishop herself, on improving ties with China and on adopting a correct understanding of China’s development. They expressed the strong will of the Australian side to improve bilateral relations and China is also ready to communicate with the Australian side over the issue in due course. Third, China attaches importance to its relationship with Australia. We hope that the Australian side could act upon its goodwill with concrete actions. Fourth, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that if Australia sincerely hopes that the relations between the two countries could return to the right track and sustain sound development, then it must break away from its traditional thinking, take off its tinted glasses to look at China’s development from a more positive angle, and provide more driving force for cooperation between the two countries.
To sum up, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi clarified on a macro level that if the Australian side truly seeks to improve and develop its relations with China, it must first of all address its problem of perception, which will offer a fundamental guarantee to the sound, steady and sustained development of bilateral ties.