Chinese premier warns Australia ‘taking sides’ could lead to new cold war

The Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, has warned China does not want to see a new cold war, emphasising that throughout his country’s history, peace has “always been the most precious thing”.
With increasing tensions in the South China Sea a significant backdrop to his visit to Australia, Li told parliamentarians in Canberra on Thursday that China did not want to see countries “taking sides, as happened during the cold war”.

Li used a lunchtime address to say Beijing pursued an independent foreign policy of peace, and pursued “national development paths suited to our traditions”.
He said China respected Australia’s chosen foreign policies and that “as long as they are consistent with the United Nations charter and international rules – we will work together to maintain them”.
Li’s explicit warning against taking sides could be interpreted not only as broad ranging diplomatic advice to his host, but a rebuke to Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop, who recently argued the United States remained the pre-eminent global strategic power in Asia, and the “indispensable strategic power in the Indo-Pacific”.

In a rare negative public commentary about China’s political system, the Australian foreign minister also used her speech in Singapore in mid-March to suggest China’s lack of democracy was a constraint on the country reaching its full economic potential. Bishop is not in Canberra for the Chinese premier’s visit, instead attending a meeting in the US about the campaign against Islamic State.
With China’s assertive posture in the Asia Pacific region generating significant tensions, Li said Beijing was intent on executing a peaceful rise, and was not seeking to display dominance in the region.

He said China wanted to grow its economy, giving people a better life and boosting living standards, and that required “a stable regional environment and a stable world environment”.

“Throughout China’s history, peace is always the most precious thing,” premier Li said. “That is our tradition. Now China is firmly committed to being on the path of peaceful development.

“That is determined by our tradition, that is also driven by our reality and it will continue to remain so in the future and that serves the interests of not only the Chinese, but people across the world.”
Li said as China grows in the future, “we will never seek dominance,” and he said China stood ready to work with Australia “for peace in our region, for maritime navigation freedom and the freedom of overflight, and we will continue to do that”.
In Bishop’s Singapore speech, she noted China’s provocative behaviour in the South China Sea was one of the challenging manifestations of emerging geopolitical competition in the region, and said the region was anxious in the absence of a clear signal from the Trump administration.

China close to finishing buildings on South China Sea islands that could house missiles, US says
 Bishop said the US did not have territorial disputes with other countries in the region, and the democratic and liberal rules-based order exemplified in the American political system reflected what Australia sought to “preserve and defend” in the region.

Bishop also issued a pointed warning that the importance “of liberal values and institutions should not be underestimated or ignored”.

“While non-democracies such as China can thrive when participating in the present system, an essential pillar of our preferred order is democratic community,” the foreign affairs minister said.
The Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who welcomed Li to Canberra on Thursday before discussions on trade and regional security, said the two leaders would discuss the “importance of upholding and maintaining stability in our region”.

Turnbull said Australia and China would work together “to counter the rising tide of protectionism” but he noted that free trade could “only thrive in a peaceful and stable environment”.

“Both our countries know this well,” Turnbull said. “Australia and China have both benefitted immeasurably from the stability in our region that has been underpinned by the rules based international order.
“During this visit, premier Li and I will discuss, as we have before, the importance of upholding and maintaining stability in our region. We believe China has much to contribute to global peace and prosperity in this time of rapid change.”


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Julian King says:

    China says “as long as they are consistent with the United Nations charter and international rules – we will work together to maintain them”. And yet China refuses to abide by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). China is a rogue military communist dictatorship and cannot be trusted. Australia should boycott all trade with China until they obey UN rules and stop human rights abuses.


  2. Lyn says:

    They play a long game and we are VERY naive to think they speak with other than forked tongue. Then why have we leased strategic ports to them – Darwin, Fremantle, Albany and allow them to buy our land, operating farms, and houses here? The details in the trade agreements will be all their way. We are not told the details – neither free or fair trade. In 2003 our beef deal with the USA was met by Mr Bush giving his beef growers $231B for 12 years so they could compete against imports. And that was with a friend. Now the former Minister for Trade is employed by the Chinese Government we must ask Are these deals in our long term national interest? We really are getting dumber and dumber.


  3. John. says:

    China is like a cancer , it is eating us away bit by bit until it gets all of our country, “Lock stock and barrel”, we are in a new era ,it is “peaceful takeover” by way of buying up the country and getting control of infrastructure.
    Control of the south China sea , is just a stepping stone to taking us [and the rest of the south pacific] over once they have enough economic control of Australia.
    I for one do NOT want to be under Chinese rule .
    Wake up Mr Prime minister and start to listen to the true blue Australian people and what WE want for this OUR country .


  4. Diane Wilson says:

    This scum-bred bastards name has been mis-spelled, it is actually LIAR. Same as turdbulls middle name.


  5. Lyn says:

    This “peace loving ” country killed 60 million of its own people to enforce its rules and centralise power so try to convince any thinking Australian that it is in our national interests to sell our land businesses houses and port access to them. Neither fair or free!!!!


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