Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg on the relationship with China

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The national flags of Australia and China are displayed in front of a portrait of Mao Zedong overlooking Tiananmen Square.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP via Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Australia will continue to advocate its national interests but would like to see tense relations with China improve, Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Monday.

“The trade relationship between China and Australia is … very important,” Frydenberg told CNBC’s Will Koulouris. “It is mutually beneficial. Our resources have helped China’s economic growth and we applaud that.”

“At the same time, China has been a very important market for Australia, and our exports to China have helped increase incomes here in Australia – an important source of income and job creation,” Frydenberg told CNBC as part of the network’s coverage about the Davos agenda.

Relations between the two major trading partners worsened last year when Australia backed a call for an international investigation into China’s handling of Covid-19, first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

… historically we have had a very good partnership with China and we want it to stay that way

Josh Frydenberg

Australian treasurer

Wine bottles imported from Australia will be on sale in a supermarket in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China on November 27, 2020.

Long Wei | VCG | Getty Images

For his part, Frydenberg said Australia has a keen sense of its own national interests in the areas of security, foreign investment and human rights.

“We will continue to advocate and advocate for the national interest of Australia, but again that shouldn’t rule out strong ties in the region. Historically we have had a very good partnership with China and we want it to continue.” ,” he added.

USA and its “indispensable” role

Frydenberg said his administration looks forward to working with new American President Joe Biden, saying the strength of the alliance between Australia and the US does not depend on which leader is in power in either country.

“The relationship was strong and lasting – based on mutual respect, based on shared values ​​and certainly shared interests,” he said, adding that the United States has an “indispensable role in our part of the world, in Asia.” Pacific.”

We look forward to a very constructive US-Australia relationship that is vital not only for Australia but also for the US.

Josh Frydenberg

Australian treasurer

Under former President Donald Trump, the US appeared to be withdrawing from a position of influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Trump withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Washington did not participate in the massive regional comprehensive economic partnership signed by China and 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, which would account for about 30% of the world’s population and economy.

“We look forward to a very constructive US-Australia relationship that is vital not only for Australia but also for the US,” said Frydenberg.