I spy something Wong
Foreign Minister Penny Wong is in Beijing to mark the 50th anniversary of Australia-China diplomatic relations.
Senator Wong has been invited by the Chinese government to meet with her counterpart Wang Yi and hold the sixth Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, which was last held in 2018.
She left for China on Tuesday, and return home by the end of the week.
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Penny Wong is an extraordinary national security risk
As much of the world’s attention is consumed by the implications of Xi Jinping’s more assertive China, there is a valuable lesson offered by an anniversary we commemorate this month.
…Whitlam held that it defied reason to ignore the political leaders of a quarter of the world’s population.
There will always be differences to manage in our leading Asian relationships, requiring calm, confident and consistent engagement.
He had begun a decisive shift in Australia’s world view, putting our region at the centre, alongside the multilateralism championed a generation earlier by Doc Evatt.
…FitzGerald recalls Whitlam did not approach “China in isolation but as part of a broad foreign policy idea, that Australia needed a relationship with Asia based on acceptance of it as our enduring international neighbourhood”.
…Many countries are seeking a demonstration from Beijing that nearly half a century after international recognition at the UN, it wants to be seen as a responsible international power.
But, ultimately, we should heed Allan Gyngell’s reminder that in all Whitlam’s “thinking about foreign policy he emphasised the need to face up to the realities of the world”.
It’s about honest assessments of our interests, and bold pursuit of them. It’s about facing the reality that while much of our history is in Europe, our home and our future are in the Indo-Pacific.
And it’s about recognising – as one of Whitlam’s successors, Paul Keating, said – that we need to find our security in Asia, not from Asia.
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