Interview: Australian magnate calls for trust, understanding to develop China-Australia relationship
CANBERRA – Australian media should be responsible when covering China-Australia relationship to avoid causing misunderstanding and distrust, Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Forrest, who is the founder and chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, one of the world’s leading iron ore producers, said Australian media had “overreacted” to some small events in China-Australian relations with sensationalized reports.
He also asked China to “take headlines in Australian media report with a big dose of humor because that’s all they deserve.”
Forrest had made a powerful speech earlier last week at a Chinese New Year function co-hosted by the Australian China Business Council and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Australia.
He said Australia has disregarded its friendship with China “that defines Australian modernity, and our shared humanity in the coming future.”
“We have listened too much to immature alarmists and not enough to each other. We have neglected the nourishment of our greatest friendship — China and Australia must nourish that friendship,” Forrest said.
In his interview with Xinhua, Forrest said that both Australia and China need to appreciate their friendship and long shared history of “over 100 years old.”
Forrest noted in his earlier speech that China has made great contribution to the defeat of the military Japan and suffered huge losses in the Second World War, calling China “an ally in war, an ally in business, and an ally in Australia’s history and future destiny.”
He said Australia’s excellent fiscal relationship with China, one built on decades of trust, helped Australia to achieve 27 years’ of uninterrupted economic growth, a world record in modern history.
“I’m very proud of the huge relationship which developed between China and Australia. I’m very proud of where it comes from, which is a base of trust. And certainly most proud of our future together,” he told Xinhua. ( “All we — government, media, business people — have to do is to recognize it. We got way more in common than we do have in differences,” he said.
He called for a stop to the “distrust, paranoia and a loss of respect” fueled by current debate in Australia on bilateral relations.
“If we act with maturity, strength and respect, Australia’s relationship with China will prosper,” he said in the speech.
Forrest asked Australians to stand with him and “respect and celebrate the Chinese community’s deep roots in Australia, and the vital role China has played in the strength and cultural richness of Australia.”
“We need to stop only focusing on what separates us … Government, business and commentators all have a role to play in our future and mature engagement,” he said.
“I am hopeful that 2018 will mark a turning point in the China-Australia relationship and, from my own experience, there is plenty to celebrate,” he added.