Morrison to push on trade, vaccines at summit talks

“Both forums will be an opportunity to work collaboratively with international partners to set a constructive pathway to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Key to this is … ensuring equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics.

“We will also discuss enabling trade and open markets through a multilateral trading system, to strengthen supply chains, that will also help Australia’s economic recovery.”

Because of the pandemic, Mr Morrison has been unable to have any face-to-face time with Mr Xi or Chinese Premier for 12 months, at a time when relations between Canberra and Beijing have nosedived, with strikes against Australian exports of coal, timber, wine and lobsters in recent weeks.

Protectionism attacked

Mr Xi used a speech to Asia-Pacific chief executives on Thursday to insist China remained committed to economic openness and attacked protectionism.

He ruled out China decoupling its economy from the rest of the world in a barb at Mr Trump’s trade war with the communist regime.

“Mounting unilateralism, protectionism and bullying as well as backlash against economic globalisation have added to risks and uncertainties in the world economy,” Mr Xi said.

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Amid reports China planned to attack Australia’s treatment of Indigenous Australians and aged care residents in international forums as part of its campaign, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government remained willing to engage in respectful dialogue.

“Our values and our histories are different, that is very well-known, but our trading relationship has been mutually beneficial,” he said.

“At the same time, Australia’s national interests are non-negotiable. Whether they are national security interests or national economic interests, and Australia will also continue to speak publicly about human rights issues, as appropriate.”

China’s Foreign Ministry denounced a joint statement issued by Five Eyes alliance members Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and United States condemning Beijing’s latest crackdown on pro-democracy politicians in Hong Kong.

“No matter how many eyes they have, five or 10 or whatever, should anyone dare to undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, be careful not to get poked in the eye,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

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