Australia’s foreign minister to visit China
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday that Foreign Minister Penny Wong will visit China this week in a move aimed at improving diplomatic relations between Beijing and Canberra.
“Australia seeks a stable relationship with China; we will cooperate where we can, disagree where we must and engage in the national interest,” Albanese said in a statement.
It will be the first visit to China by an Australian minister since 2019, and the first formal talks in Beijing between the two nations’ top diplomats since 2018.
Wong will meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and hold the sixth Australia–China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries on Wednesday.
Diplomatic ties between Australia and its major trading partner China had deteriorated in recent years, with Beijing imposing sanctions on Australian exports after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Beijing was also angered by the previous Liberal government in Canberra effectively banning Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from Australia’s 5G network.
A meeting between Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali last month signalled a thaw in ties, although China’s trade sanctions remain in place.
China remains the top buyer of Australia’s biggest export of iron ore, and is seeking Canberra’s endorsement to join a trans-Pacific trade pact.