China-Australia relations: Canberra’s approach based on ‘assessment of national interests’ despite New Zealand critique

China-Australia relations: Canberra’s approach based on ‘assessment of national interests’ despite New Zealand critique

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan has defended his country’s dealings with China, saying they were based on an “assessment of national interests”, responding to his New Zealand counterpart suggesting that Canberra exercise a more diplomatic approach toward Beijing.

Tehan said on Thursday that his trade policy would be guided by the three P’s of proactivity, principle and patience after New Zealand Trade Minister Damien O’Connor seemingly questioned Canberra’s approach amid its 10-month dispute with Beijing.

“We pursue engagement with China on the basis of mutual benefit, and the complementarity of our economies makes us natural trading partners. We are always open to dialogue as the best way to resolve differences,” said Australia’s minister for tourism, trade and investment, who replaced Simon Birmingham during a cabinet reshuffle at the end of last year.

On Wednesday, O’Connor, fresh from signing an upgrade and expansion of its free-trade agreement with China a month after Australia failed to review its similar agreement, called for more multilateral trade globally.