Prime minister Scott Morrison said Australia “does not have to choose” between the US and China.
"Even during an era of great power competition, Australia does not have to choose between the United States and China," he said during a speech on foreign policy in Sydney.
"China is our comprehensive strategic partner. The strategic importance of our relationship is clear."
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The address follows months of Morrison taking steps to strengthen ties with the US and president Donald Trump.
The Australian prime minister made headlines this week after the New York Times reported that Trump urged him to help US Attorney-General Bill Barr gather information to discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
But while Morrison’s relationship with the US is on a firm footing, his relationship with China was tested when he said he wanted to see China recognised as a “developed” country, rather than its current “developing” status.
Morrison retreated on that rhetoric on Thursday, saying he made the argument as a “compliment, not a criticism”.
Man who predicted 9/11 says we must be “patient” with China
Futurist Dr Richard Hames predicted 9/11 and the Global Financial Crisis, and while he believes capitalism is the world’s next obstacle, he told Yahoo Finance Australia needs to be “patient” with China.
“The perspective I have on China is very long, it’s very patient. It’s not thinking of reacting in ways that the US might expect.”
Hames said Australia’s trading relationship with China over the next decade was dependent on two factors: perspective and empathy.
“Australian views about China are inherited relics from the past,” Hames said.
“Changing our ingrained assumptions about China – its political system, role in the world, and legitimate aspirations – is therefore critical.”
In terms of empathy, Hames said Australia needed to act cooperatively with China.
“China has lifted its position in the world economy by bringing millions of its citizens out of poverty and promoting small businesses to generate income,” he said.
“Today China can totally replace Australian imports if it wants to. But hailing their extraordinary achievements, and working cooperatively with China, will inevitably benefit Australian enterprises wanting to do business there in the long term.”
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