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Human rights ’not on table’ in China FTA

ABC News, Australia

Human rights ’not on table’ in China FTA

19 June 2005

Trade Minister Mark Vaile says the Government will not "sell out" human rights issues to get a better deal on a free trade agreement with China.

Mr Vaile says Australia and China will keep the negotiations on the FTA separate to the debate over human rights issues.

The Government is facing increased pressure over its human rights stance with China since the defection of the former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin.

Mr Vaile has told Channel Ten the relationship between the two countries is robust enough to withstand two separate bilateral debates.

"There’s a high level of respect and understanding of each other’s points of view," he said.

"We have a human rights dialogue with China and we have our economic relationship we’re working on.

"And we keep those separate and we focus our energies on those.

"And certainly we’re not selling out our views on human rights in the interests of getting a better economic deal."