Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has urged China not to supply Russia with weapons in aid of Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine and said the world was looking to China to show “responsible leadership”.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi after a meeting with her Chinese counterpart, Qin Gang, Ms Wong said all countries were expecting China to do the “right thing”.
“I’ve previously said that the world does look to China for its responsible leadership when it comes to Ukraine, particularly given its close relationship to Russia,” she told reporters.
“I would note that President Zelenskiy himself has said he wants to believe that China will do the right thing and not supply weapons to Russia – and that is not only Australia’s call but the call of all countries.”
Ms Wong said she was “grateful” for the opportunity to meet with Mr Gang.
“I will continue to assert that both parties (Australia and China) can grow our bilateral relationship while safeguarding our national interests if we both navigate our relationship wisely,” she said.
“I was grateful for the opportunity to engage on important matters as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Ms Wong said the world must “never forget” that Russia was responsible for the war in Ukraine.
She also reaffirmed her calls for China to remove restrictions on Australian imports, notably wine and barley.
Ms Wong’s comments were reinforced by the US at the G20 Summit, with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken saying that China “cannot publicly present itself as a force for peace while, in one way or another, it continues to fan the flames of the fire that Vladimir Putin lit”.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it formalised a “no-limits” relationship with China.