Foreign Minister’s Opening Remarks to the Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue - Parliament House, Canberra - 20/03/2024

20 March 2024



I am pleased to welcome you to Australia, Minister Wang, for the seventh Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue. It is good to see you in our country.

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal and the Ngambri people, and pay my respect to their elders past and present.

I am very pleased to return the courtesy you showed me during my visit to Beijing for our last Foreign and Strategic Dialogue in December 2022 and to host you in Australia for what is our sixth face to face meeting.

At our last Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, we agreed to start or resume dialogue in a wide range of areas, and I’m pleased that since then, we have held our Annual Leaders’ Meeting, trade and economic talks, our 1.5 track High-Level Dialogue and consultations on defence, consular issues, and climate.

We also welcome progress on trade between our countries, including on wine exports, and look forward to the resolution of outstanding issues.

Predictability in business and in trade is in all our interests.

You and I also agreed on the importance of dialogue between our two countries, not just to take forward our shared interests, but also to exchange views on the issues that matter to us and to navigate wisely, any differences we have.

With that in mind, I look forward to speaking frankly with about Australians detained in China, human rights, maritime security and safety, and regional and international issues such as the Pacific, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East.

At the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit two weeks ago, I welcomed the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ statement on the need for dialogue, restraint and the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, particularly UNCLOS.

And as Foreign Minister, I have emphasised that it is in all of our interests to commit to preventive architecture to reduce the risk of conflict and that communication never be withheld as punishment or offered as a reward.

As you know, dialogue enables us to manage our differences; we both know it does not eliminate them. Australia will always be Australia and China will always be China.

Now more than ever, it is important that we have channels to discuss upholding a regional and global order shaped by agreed rules and norms, where we each respect each other’s sovereignty.

Minister Wang, Australia and China share history, trade, culture, and a region. We have a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and we will look to expand our cooperation into the future.

Together you and I have made progress in stabilising the relationship between our countries in the interests of our nations, our people, and the peace and security of our region.

There is more to be done. So, I thank you for accepting our invitation to Canberra. And if I may again acknowledge your personal efforts in progressing this relationship.

I look forward to another constructive discussion.


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Authorised by Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia.