MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
23 January 1998
Mr Evans' Irresponsible Comments on the Chinese Currency
The ALP's Treasury Spokesman Gareth Evans has been recklessly irresponsible in his statement that there could be a "significant" devaluation in the Chinese currency.
At a time of deep regional sensitivity it is entirely inappropriate for senior politicians to speculate about the direction of another country's currency.
Moreover, Mr Evans' throw away remarks are a betrayal of the confidence given to him by those with whom he has talked.
Mr Evans has directly contradicted the Chinese Government's public statements on its own currency.
As a former Foreign Minister and as the ALP's would be Treasurer, it is an extraordinary lapse in judgement for Mr Evans to make comments which breach his obligations of confidentiality, which contribute to a climate of international uncertainty and which surely will not be welcomed by one of Australia's most important partners.
Unfortunately, Mr Evans' comments follow on from his criticisms earlier this week of Dr Mahathir and the Indonesian Minister Dr Habibie, all of which have been potentially damaging to Australia's standing within the region.
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