Beijing Mission – Roundtable Sat 29 April

Ms Louise Watson, Chairman

Opening Remarks

Thank you, to Dr Henry Haiyou Wang, President of the Center for China and Globalization and your colleagues at CCG, for your wonderful partnership and hospitality.

I also acknowledge Mr Steve Howard, Secretary General of the Global Foundation, who is co-moderating today’s roundtable discussion with Dr Wang.

A warm welcome to distinguished global participants in this roundtable discussion, from China, Australia and across the world.

In particular, I welcome His Excellency, Graham Fletcher, Australian Ambassador to China, who will address our roundtable meeting and will also kindly host a reception for participants at the Australian Ambassador’s residence later today.

On behalf of the Global Foundation, it is my great pleasure to also add my warm welcome to you all today, for what may prove to be an historic roundtable meeting, co-hosted by the Center for China and Globalization and the Global Foundation.

I use the word ‘historic’, as I believe that we are at a positive turning point in modern international relations, certainly between Australia and China, but also hopefully, in terms of China and the world.

The past three years of the pandemic have seen the world turn inwards. Only now are we able to share the fresh Spring breezes, as we meet again, face to face, here in Beijing.

Speaking personally, in my visit to China over this past week with the Australia China Business Council delegation, I have seen first-hand the renewed dynamism in the Chinese economy and the spirit of the Chinese people, in building a better future for themselves and their loved ones.

Of course, recent geo-political tensions are not without substance, yet surely we have more to lose than to gain by nations tearing themselves apart. After all, we live on only one planet and it is incumbent upon us all to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for humanity.

Such a sustainable future, a future of global human security, should be found with each other and not from each other.

As global citizens, we need to embrace the ‘other’, to explore pathways to integrate the rise of China and of the East and the global South more generally, into a peaceful and prosperous and sustainable world.

We at the Global Foundation have renewed our calls for the need for ‘dialogue between civilisations’, that is based upon deep cultural understanding and respect, that serves as a basis for agreement about our common human destiny.

This requires a shift in thinking by everyone, a new level of humility in seeking to reach understanding and agreement and to co-operate where we possibly can. It will require degrees of give and take, as those who have enjoyed decades of prosperity and associated global influence will have to learn to share power with rising actors.

It almost certainly will require the renewal and nourishment of international institutions and global governance arrangements, to make them more fit for purpose for contemporary and future realities.

Last night, at our Mission dinner, we heard from Dr Jin Liqun, the President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the multilateral institution launched by China – with the very active support of the Global Foundation, I might add. What a success story the AIIB has become, both in terms of its impact on global sustainable development, but also in demonstrating that China is more than capable of leading new institutional arrangements that benefit the world.

We need to draw upon success stories such as this and work more closely together, bringing to bear all the best talents of societies in shaping a modern international order. This is what the Global Foundation aspires to do. Our mission to Beijing and our other global programs over this year and beyond will provide wonderful opportunities for participation and impact by those who share our vision and are willing to join us.

At our roundtable discussion today, we will consider and hopefully act upon two great examples, that rely upon co-operation and the effective bridging of East and West. They are:

  • for effective global action on climate change, involving private sector leadership and international financial system reform; and also
  • for ‘re-making globalisation’ through sustaining trade and international commerce.

I look forward to fruitful outcomes and joint actions as a consequence of this important roundtable discussion. May I wish everyone well for your deliberations today.