Source: Duncan Calder on LinkedIn
The Morrison Government can learn valuable lessons from the past on how to successfully reboot our troubled relationship with China. In 2008, the last time that the Sino-Australian geopolitical relationship was deep in the doldrums, a strategy of proactive outreach by Stephen Smith, then our Minister for Foreign Affairs, successfully recalibrated the relationship.
Addressing the WACCC's Guanxi Networking event this evening, Professor Smith shared insights on how Australia can improve our relationship.
Proactive engagement. “We should not be hesitant in proactively offering an olive branch”
Making the effort. “The most important thing is often just turning up”
Accept our differences and focus on areas of mutual benefit. “There is a new normal and there are areas where we will disagree .. but we need to keep on talking”.
Let’s hope that Canberra will pay attention, change from confrontation and adopt a more proactive engagement strategy with China.
Given China is on a clear trajectory to be the world’s largest economy and is already our most important economic partner, we should respond to the current crisis to reach out, show compassion and be a friend to China. If we do this, economic rewards will follow for all Australians.
These are wise words indeed, not only for a country, but for any business. For a country smaller than China (which is... everybody) it's tempting to put on a tough posture so as not to be 'pushed around'. There is some wisdom in having non-negotiables and standing your ground, but it's really important to pay attention to the words "...we need to keep on talking". Just imagine, even for a moment, that your Chinese counterparty is on the same side of the table as you, and focus on the things you want to achieve together.