Remarks - Meeting with Premier Li - Beijing - People's Republic of China

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister

PREMIER LI QIANG, PREMIER OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC: Honourable Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia.

It's a great pleasure for me to host you in Beijing.

Let me begin by giving you another warm welcome to China.

In the last two months, we had opportunities to meet and discuss with each other.

I remember our first meeting was in Jakarta, and then it Delhi.

The day before yesterday, we met in Shanghai. And now, in Beijing.

Chinese people say at the first meeting, we are new acquaintances and the second time, we're familiar with each other.

And on the third meeting, we are old friends.

So, I consider you an old friend now.

Your visit to China this time is closely followed by Australia and also in China.

On our way into the hall, I shared with you that I see on social media of China that there are many sharing of short videos about your trip to China, including your speech, including a video of you running along the river with a yellow jersey.

People were saying that we have a handsome boy coming from Australia.

People are encouraged to see further improvement in our bilateral ties.

In particular, in your speech to the organisation of the Import Expo, the day before yesterday in Shanghai, you spoke highly of the fruits of China-Australia cooperation delivered by half a century of diplomatic relations and expressed a desire for close engagement.

Those words were warmly received in our two countries and beyond.

The short videos of your speech at the CIIE were widely shared online.

And those videos received many likes and good comments.

So, we hope our two sides will continue to work towards the same direction and sustain this positive moment that we enjoy now.

Yesterday, President Xi Jinping and you had an in-depth discussion here over strategic and overarching issues that concern the direction and developments of bilateral ties in the long run.

Those discussions have provided strategic guidance for further development of China-Australia relations in the new era.

Our meeting today marks the re-commencement of annual leaders meetings between the Chinese Premier and Australian Prime Minister.

The Chinese side is prepared to work together with Australia to further strengthen communication, dialogue and deepen trust, expand practical cooperation and properly manage our differences, to realise steady and sustained growth of the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership that brings more benefits to our two countries and Chinese and Australian people.

I was told by my colleagues that you've brought a large press delegation with you this time, Mr Prime Minister.

Tomorrow is China's Journalists Day.

So, I want to take this opportunity to send my long regards to our Chinese and Australian journalists.

And I hope our journalists will give objective and fair reports on each other's country to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Mr Prime Minister, I am ready to have an exchange of views on issues of shared interest with you and to have a further and candid discussion.

Mr Prime Minister, I would like to hear your insights first.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, firstly, thank you very much, Premier Li.

It is indeed our third exchange in a very short period of time.

We had a very good and productive first meeting in Jakarta.

And then in New Delhi, we had a very long discussion informally over dinner.

And that was an opportunity for us to really get to know each other and to have that informal exchange, which was so important.

And I liked your mini Chinese proverbs a lot.

And the idea of an old friend at the third meeting is certainly something that I feel and I'm sure will continue to develop in the future.

And I'm glad that you saw me wearing, it was our Matildas World Cup jersey that I was wearing on the walk during the visit to Shanghai.

And I thank you for the invitation to visit Shanghai and for your kind hospitality there.

It is wonderful to be here in your capital, in Beijing, for our annual leaders meeting.

And the fact that these meetings are now going to continue is very important for our relations.

I do want to say as well, that for me, as someone who regards history as being very important. to be here on the 50th anniversary of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's visit to the People's Republic of China in 1973, the first ever by an Australian Prime Minister, is something that I'm very cognisant of.

As we meet here in Beijing as well, I do wish to pay my respects to former Premier Li Keqiang and express our deep sympathies at his passing.

He played a very significant role in the course of the relationship between our two nations. And thoughts go to his family and loved ones and to the people of China.

My visit is about taking forward a relationship that has, over those five decades since Prime Minister Whitlam's visit, delivered so much for the peoples of both of our countries.

In Shanghai, I observed very closely the very strong will of Australian business leaders and their Chinese counterparts to advance our commercial ties that serve both of us.

Our proximity, our economic complementarities, and close people-to-people ties make us important partners now and into the future.

That is why the full resumption of free and unimpeded trade between our two countries is so important.

It's why we should work together to address shared challenges like climate change and environmental degradation, food security and transnational crime.

And why we should discuss ways to shape a regional and global order that is peaceful, stable and prosperous, where countries respect sovereignty and meet their obligations under international law and conventions.

Where there is geostrategic competition, we must all manage it carefully, through dialogue and through understanding.

Australia will hold firm to our interests and values, as all countries do.

As nations with different histories, political systems and values, Australia and China will, though, not be defined by our differences, but will be defined by how we can work through these issues.

We can grow the relationship while advancing our respective interests, if we wisely navigate when there are differences.

Premier, I look forward to another constructive dialogue with you today.

I have enjoyed, very much, getting to know you, getting to promote understanding of our different perspectives and working together.

And I look forward to this being just another step on the road to a prosperous and positive engagement between our two countries.