Visit to Australia by Chinese Foreign Minister HE Wang Yi

Mar 18, 2024
Photo taken in Brasil 2019. Image: Wikimedia Commons/ Marcos Corrêa/PR Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr Wang Yi, is in Australia this week to participate in the China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue with his Australian counterpart, Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

This is a good development and very much to be supported.

While observing the reporting of this upcoming dialogue from the distance of my office in Sydney, last week I received an unexpected invitation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry for me to meet the Foreign Minister at the end of his visit should I have the time.

Within a day, I also received a communication from the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet offering to facilitate the meeting and to make appropriate arrangements.

Hardly an ‘extraordinary intervention’ as reported in today’s Australian.

Extraordinary apparently, that the host department of the host country, proposes to facilitate a meeting, in this case, between me and its national guest.

As a matter of courtesy, let alone anything else, I was happy to advise the Chinese Foreign Ministry that, given I had the time, I would be pleased to sit down and discuss international matters with the Foreign Minister.

Yet, The Australian newspaper this morning describes the Foreign Ministry invitation as a ‘jarring addition’ to Minister Wang Yi’s trip.

What could be ‘jarring’ when meetings with the Australian Foreign Minister will have concluded and where the Australian government itself is offering to facilitate the meeting?

Would The Australian so describe as ‘jarring’ and ‘extraordinary’ a similar invitation from the British Foreign Secretary to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott or Scott Morrison? Of course not.

It is the fact that former Prime Ministers of all countries meet ministers of other countries most if not all the time.

On my account, I have met ministers from other national governments for now just on thirty years and in the case of the Chinese, Premiers, Deputy Premiers and ministers.

This is the normal intercourse of national and international discussion that takes place across the world.

As to the Australian government, I have strongly supported the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his desire, in his words, to re-anchor Australian foreign policy in the region. Or as the Prime Minister put it last week at the ASEAN Summit, his commitment to Australia ‘finding its security in Asia not from Asia’.

As I have supported Foreign Minister Penny Wong in her attempts to lower the loud hailer and ‘stabilise’ relations with China.

And, given the chance, I will be emphasising these points to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Australia has moved substantially from the counterproductive baiting policy the Morrison government applied to China to now something much more civil and productive.

The Australian newspaper, for its part, remains trenchantly anti-Chinese. So it is no surprise that such a distorted report should appear in today’s edition. The Australian prosyletises that Australia either is or could be a Chinese military target. But the same newspaper urges Australia to sell the Chinese ever more tonnages of iron ore, presumably so that China would have no trouble putting together the armaments of scale necessary to actually attack and damage us.

This is how mixed up The Australian’s editorial policy is and why it should be ignored. More than that, contemptuously ignored.

Share and Enjoy !

Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter
Subscribe to John Menadue's Newsletter


Thank you for subscribing!