Australia: Scott Morrison dismisses concerns China-Australia tensions have weakened economic bonds - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Scott Morrison dismisses concerns China-Australia tensions have weakened economic bonds

12:31  04 november  2019
12:31  04 november  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Scott Morrison© Associated Press Scott Morrison Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed concerns diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing have strained the relationship between the two countries, arguing it is built on honesty about their differences.

Mr Morrison met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Bangkok last night, ahead of today's East Asia Summit, describing the meeting as "candid".

Accusations about interference in Australia's political system and criticism of Beijing's human rights record have prompted scathing lectures from Chinese officials, effectively telling Canberra to keep quiet.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged people not to link Australian coal export processing delays to China with diplomatic tensions . "I think the great risk of that is it will cause needless anxiety and concern particularly in our mining and resources sector," he told reporters in Hobart on Sunday.

But the Prime Minister disputed assertions those incidents undermined broader economic bonds.

"There is an honest acknowledgement … that we are two very different countries," Mr Morrison told reporters in Bangkok.

"We are a liberal democracy, they are a Communist Party state.

"We are not seeking to adopt their system and they are not seeking to adopt ours, and so there is an honesty about understanding the differences between those two outlooks."

China's foreign ministry issued a statement late on Sunday night about the meeting between the pair, again reiterating it does not seek to interfere with the affairs of "third parties", and that any relationship had to be built on "mutual respect".

"There are always points of difference, and the points of difference don't prevent you from proceeding in the areas of cooperation."

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Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will lead a delegation of 200 Australian businesses to Shanghai in the coming days.

Regional trade deal could proceed without India

Ahead of Mr Morrison's meeting with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, concerns were raised about the future of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

India had issued a list of late demands for its entry into the 16 nation trade pact, as Mr Modi faced pressure at home to protect his own struggling economy.

Leaders will leave open the possibility of India joining the deal at a later date, as they likely announce an agreement for the other 15 nations on Monday evening.

"It is important to appreciate firstly the scale. The degree of difficulty in landing a trade agreement of this scale is to do with its size," Senator Birmingham said.

"We are talking about 32 per cent of global GDP — 29 per cent if you don't have India — it still shows that it is an enormous agreement.

"My understanding is, and I welcome the fact from all of our dialogue from India, that India is going to continue discussions and negotiations and our door … is always open to India."

PM at business lunch as NSW battles fires .
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