ANU EXPERTS: China's Premier Li Keqiang visits Australia

Thursday, March 23, 2017 — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has arrived in Canberra for a five-day Australian visit focussed on strengthening China's economic relationship with Australia.

The Australian National University (ANU) has experts available to speak about the visit and its implications for Australia.

They can be contacted directly, or through the media hotline on 02 6125 7979.

Professor Peter Drysdale
Head of the ANU East Asia Bureau of Economic Research
ANU Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 5539

“Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Australia this week comes at a time of unique change in the international policy environment and underscores the joint interests that Australia and China have developed through their bilateral relationship over the past four decades and through cooperation in regional and global affairs.

“There is much at stake. China is under immense pressure to settle a deal with the Trump administration that helps normalise its treatment by the United States and avoids it being cast outside the treatment applied to other countries.

“There will be temptation to agree to bilateral trade controls and restrictions on trade with America that step backward from global market rules and principles. That could be the start of the two large powers carving up their interests in the global system regardless of its current rules.”

Rebecca Fabrizi
Associate Director
ANU Australian Centre on China in the World
T: 0466 521 770

“This visit is an important opportunity for China to press ahead with the business of consolidating regional leadership. Li Keqiang will promote China's credentials as a responsible and predictable global player, and in particular as a champion of free trade. This has been a rhetorical theme for China's leaders since the inauguration of President Trump. It creates an opening for Australia to seek more openings for trade and investment and increase the benefits of the CHAFTA. The headlines will be all about trade.

“Both sides are likely to focus on the positives and not prioritise contentious issues. While the Australian side will surely raise concerns about China's behaviour in maritime regions, as well as the worsening human rights climate there, we should not expect any strong public disagreement. The visit will allow Premier Li to express his views on perceived discrimination against Chinese investors in Australia.”

Professor Rory Medcalf
ANU National Security College
T: 02 6125 7507

“The visit will not only be about economics. Premier Li’s visit to Australia is also an opportunity for a frank exchange of views at the highest level to identify both common interests in regional stability, such as over North Korea, and differing views on issues of security and trust.

“The uncertainties of the Trump Administration obscure the fact that there remains significant concern in Australia and Indo-Pacific Asia more generally about how China is using its power and influence, including internally in other countries. Whether on cyber espionage, the South China Sea, military modernisation, China’s economic coercion of South Korea, or the strategic dimension of China’s Belt Road Initiative into the Indian Ocean, we cannot pretend that Australian and Chinese interests will align."

Dr Jane Golley
Associate Director
Australian Centre on China in the World
T: 0478 486 840


For media assistance, contact Aaron Walker on the ANU media hotline on 02 6125 7979 or 0418 307 213.