Speaking to business leaders at the AustCham Westpac Australia-China Awards in Shanghai last night, Federal Trade Minister Steve Ciobo heaped praise on the rising superpower.
He described China as a “true global giant”, saying Sino-Australian relations had developed into “something more”, The Australian reported.
“Speaking plainly, our partnership is benefiting both sides and making Australians and Chinese richer together,” he said.
“Australians are not making gains at the expense of Chinese, and Chinese are not making gains at the expense of Australians.”
He urged the two countries to work together.
“President Xi Jinping’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos [Switzerland] last year was one that the world noticed,” Mr Ciobo said.
“I particularly remember President Xi said, ‘One should not just retreat to the harbour when encountering a storm, for this will never get us to the other shore of the ocean’. For the partnership between Australia and China, if we find ourselves in choppy waters, we should bring our boats together and help each other to find a way to the other shore, avoiding the storm.”
He also complimented the Belt and Road Initiative — a trillion-dollar plan previously reported on by news.com.au that seeks to redefine global trade, with China at its core.
“One year ago last week I travelled to Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum, to ensure the Australian Government engaged constructively and collaboratively with China on the landmark Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.
“The Australian Government is working to identify and facilitate access to commercial opportunities resulting from BRI. Australia can bring much to the table … we are looking forward to working on such projects where they are in the national interest of both our countries.”
Tensions have risen sharply between Australia and China in recent months over the issue of Chinese interference.
Last month, it was reported China had been deferring a range of visits in order to take a political stand against Australia, in what was described as a “diplomatic deep freeze”.
The state-run Global Times newspaper has described Australia’s behaviour in recent years as “baffling” and “repugnant”, accusing us of being an “anti-China pioneer in the last two years” and warning that Canberra “cannot afford worsening ties with China”.
Last month, Mr Turnbull said Canberra would not back down from the foreign donation laws.
“We are taking every step that we can, with our foreign interference legislation, to ensure that Australians, and Australians only, are the ones who influence Australian political processes.”
A look into the building military force China has been building, featuring a second aircraft carrier turned warship.