|Chinese FM Spokesperson: We Urge the Australian Side to Revisit the Original Purpose of China-Australia Diplomatic Relations,and Reject Cold-War Mentality and Ideological Bias|
At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on 9 July, spokesperson Wang Wenbin answered a question on China-Australia relations.
Journalist: Recently, mainstream Australian media published articles commemorating the 50th anniversary of former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's visit to China, including articles written by Whitlam back then about his observations and insights during the visit. Whitlam believes that it is an unavoidable and objective reality that the CPC is in power in China and that Australia should have diplomatic relations with China which conforms to the trend of the times. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. In July 1971, Mr. Gough Whitlam led a delegation to pay an "ice-breaking" visit to China as the leader of the Australian opposition Labor Party, making important and indelible contributions to the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia and the growth of bilateral ties. Looking back at this "ice-breaking" visit 50 years ago, people from different social sectors in Australia say that Mr. Whitlam exemplified great political wisdom, confidence and courage in choosing to establish diplomatic ties with China, a decision based on rational thinking by grasping and following the trend of the times. What he did shows that Australia is more than able to lead, rather than blindly follow, other countries in international affairs. They call on the Australian government to handle its relations with China in the same pragmatic and rational approach.
With relations between China and Australia severely strained, these thoughts and appeals are cause for some soul searching on the part of the Australian government. The two sides had more differences 50 years ago than today. Why is it that the Australian statesmen back then had the vision to follow the overwhelming trend and begin cooperation with China and engagement with Asia despite obstacles while today certain people in the Australian government are led astray by bias and choose to move against the invincible trend, constantly obstructing bilateral cooperation and even inciting confrontation? We urge the Australian side to take history as a mirror, heed the voice of insightful people at home, and revisit the original purpose of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Australia. We call on it to reject Cold-War mentality and ideological bias, do more things to promote bilateral mutual trust and cooperation in keeping with the spirit of the two sides' comprehensive strategic partnership and the interests of the two peoples, and refrain from historical retrogression.