DARWIN – Chief Minister of Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) Michael Gunner said on Monday that the Belt and Road Initiative can be win-win for China and Australia.
A reception was held on Monday night in Darwin, the capital city of NT, by the Chinese Embassy in Australia to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Delivering a speech at the reception, Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye said over the past 70 years, China has not only developed itself, but also contributed to the world peace and injected impetus to the common development of all nations.
“Cooperation at local level is an important part and a solid basis of China-Australia relations. The Northern Territory is Australia’s nearest part to China, and Darwin is the Asia Gateway of Australia,” said Cheng.
China has become the top trading partner and the second largest export market for Northern Territory. Key cooperation projects such as the expansion of the Port of Darwin are progressing smoothly. Direct flight from Shenzhen to Darwin operated by Donghai Airlines has become an important link for deepening exchanges.
Gunner delivered a speech at the reception, praising the development achievements of China. In an interview at the reception, the NT chief minister said the Belt and Road Initiative can be win-win for China and Australia as in Australia there is the plan to develop the North.
“I’d like to think of it as win-win. It’s how do we work together to develop common bonds or common economic opportunities,” he said.
He cited the example of the Port of Darwin, in which the NT government signed a $370 million deal and announced in 2015 that it would lease the port to the Chinese company Landbridge Group, for 99 years.
“I think it’s a very positive investment for the future of our country and the port is the bridge between supply and demand. We need the port to grow to suit the things that we’re gonna be exporting,” he said.
“It’s both an Australian government win and a Chinese government win. So I think it’s a positive sign of what you can achieve if you work together as a commercial port doing commercial things.”