PM Gillard to take a high profile delegation to China

PM Julia Gillard accompanied by Foreign Minister Bob Carr will leave for China on Friday. The duo will be among the first few foreign leaders to meet the new China leadership headed by President Xi Jinping.

One of the agendas of this meeting is to convince China to talk North Korea out of launching a nuclear war against the United States. Senator Carr will make a personal appeal for China to sway North Korea to tone down its behavior. He showed great concern over the latest threats from Pyongyang, alleging that South Korea might not hold itself back for a long time. According to the Defence Minister Stephen Smith, Australia has drafted contingency plans for the safety of defence personnel and other Australians in South Korea.

“It’s hard to reconcile this Australia with either the economic cringe which discounts our national economic achievements, or the political negativity which denies them,” said PM Gillard.

The high profile Australian delegation includes Senator Carr, trade minister Craig Emerson, defence minister Stephen Smith and financial services minister Bill Shorten. The preliminary aim is to promote trade and economic interest and share with the Chinese leadership perspectives on global and regional economic and security issues.

“I don’t view us as being in a position where the strong and growing relationship we have with China is somehow in contest, or in contrast, to the relationship we have with the United States of America. For us, we will continue to do what we’ve done for some period of time – to attend to our friendship and alliance with the United States while growing our friendship with China,” PM Gillard added.

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