Item No. 1 was the demand that Australia stop blocking Chinese investment on national security grounds. No. 2 was that Australia reverse its ban on Huawei. Three was that Australia dump its foreign interference and espionage laws. And so on, including the demands that Australian members of parliament and media cease making any comments critical of China. Recall that Beijing had banned all political contact with Australia and imposed punitive trade sanctions on at least $20 billion worth of Australian exports.
Both Australia’s government and opposition had flatly rejected the demands and refused any suggestion of negotiating over them. Now Kearsley asked Keating the pivotal question: “Which of these 14 items would you be prepared to negotiate on?”
Keating began by replying: “Look, the key point is, is the rise of China legitimate? … The key is to recognise, if we give China the recognition I believe it is due, in terms of its legitimacy,…