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Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

Meeting with President Xi Jinping

PRESIDENT XI JINPING, PRESIDENT OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA: Prime Minister, it’s so nice to welcome you to Beijing.

And the Ministers and other members of the Australian delegation.

Before taking office you visited China many times.

After taking office, you’ve been working to stabilise and improve relations with China.

This visit shows the great importance you attach to relations with China.

Mr Prime Minister, your visit this time is of double significance.

This year, you celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first visit to China by an Australian Prime Minister, The Honourable Edward Gough Whitlam.

In China we often say when drinking water, we should not forget those who dug the well.

The Chinese people will not forget Prime Minister Whitlam for digging the well for us.

And now, we are embracing a new 50 year in China-Australia relations.

So, your visit this time is highly significant, as it builds on the past and ushers in the future.

Last year, we met for the first time in Bali, Indonesia.

We had a very good conversation.

You said back then that between Australia and China, there are extensive common interests and the two sides should advanced cooperation in a more harmonious way to achieve mutual benefit.

And that left me a deep impression.

This is also what we want.

Mutual benefit.

Back then, we both agreed to engage with each other in a more mature way between the two countries.

Now, with joint efforts of both sides, we’ve been resuming our exchanges in various views and worked out some problems.

Now, the China Australia relationship has embarked on the right path of improvement and development.

I’m heartened to see that.

A healthy and stable China-Australia relationship serves the common interests of our two countries and two peoples.

It also meets the common expectation of countries in our region.

It is important that we keep moving forward the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries.

Thank you. Those are my opening remarks.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much President Xi for your very warm welcome here in Beijing.

This is my seventh visit to China, but my first as Prime Minister.

And I regard it as a great honour to be welcomed here in the Great Hall of the Peoples.

Allow me to first express my very deep and sincere condolences on the passing of former Premier Li Keqiang and acknowledge his great contribution to the bilateral relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Australia.

President Xi, as you said, it is almost a year since we met in Bali.

At that time, both in the formal meeting and in the other discussions that we had, we agreed that we would take the relationship forward in the mutual interests of both of our countries.

And the progress we have made in advancing our relationship over that time has been unquestionably very positive.

Trade is flowing more freely to the benefit of both countries.

We’ve started a range of dialogues and the tempo of bilateral visits is increasing.

We can, of course, today take up the opportunity to explore how we can have further cooperation between our two countries.

This is indeed a historic time for me.

50 years ago, to this very day, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was here in China, the first Australian Prime Minister to visit.

And this morning, I visited the Temple of Heaven to retrace the steps that Mr Whitlam took at that time.

As you said very well, I do like China’s phrases, he dug the well from which the people of Australia and the people of China have been able to drink to our mutual benefit.

It is also 50 years since the first trade agreement was reached between our two countries.

And that relationship has been positive.

It was motivated by his view of Australia’s place in the region, but also about the important position of China, and that cooperation between our two peoples would be natural and beneficial.

And can I say that in that 50 years, the remarkable achievement of China in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty deserves respect and praise.

Australia, along with other countries in the region, has an interest in continued stable growth in the Chinese economy, and its ongoing engagement with the world.

And I believe that we can all benefit from the greater understanding that comes from high level dialogue and people to people links.

And that a strong relationship between our two countries will be beneficial into the future.

Where differences arise, it’s important that we have communication.

From communication comes understanding.

So, President Xi, can I thank you very much for the invitation from the Premier and the Government of China to visit. And for your warm hospitality here and in Shanghai, which coincided with the world’s largest trade event there.

I look forward to another productive exchange today.

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