Saturday, September 19, 2015

A diplomatic balancing act for Turnbull


Image from, with caption: The latest edition of GQ magazine featuring Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull
A month before Malcolm Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the prime ministership of Australia, he delivered a little reported speech on China in Sydney in front of a large crowd of Chinese and Australian businesspeople.
He began the speech by talking about the Chinese contribution to WWII, acknowledging the fact that China was Australia’s war-time ally. 
“Without China’s endurance and courage in the face of Japan, our war history may have ended very differently indeed,” he said, “It is vitally important for Australians, the Chinese, not to forget that in an epic struggle for the survival of our own nations, our own sovereignty, we were allies. It is important for Americans and Chinese to remember that too.”
The Chinese were clearly delighted by Turnbull’s speech and it literally brought tears to some people who were there. ...
Prime Minister Turnbull should be applauded for his remarks that recognised Chinese people’s contribution to the war; it is a nice piece of public diplomacy for Australia. However, he should be careful that his comments aren't seen as an endorsement of the current government, which falsely claims that it played the central role in the war. It is an important distinction to make

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