SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Saturday that his highly anticipated visit to China to meet President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang was a “very positive step” in stabilizing tense bilateral relations.
Albanese, who arrives on Saturday, will be the first Australian leader to visit China since 2016 as part of an effort to mend relations that have deteriorated for several years over disputes over Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, espionage and Covid-19.
“This being the first visit to our major trading partner in seven years is a very positive step and I look forward to constructive discussions and dialogues with President Xi and Premier Li during my visit,” Albanese said in Darwin. The capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.
“This is a result of our patient, measured and deliberate approach to our relationship with China.”
The Albanese government has been credited with stabilizing relations with China since taking office last year. China has lifted most of the trade blocks imposed in a 2020 diplomatic dispute that cost A$20 billion in commodity and food exports.
The Australian leader will attend China’s largest import fair in Shanghai, which will be opened by Li on Sunday. He will meet Xi in Beijing on Monday, where the prime minister said he would raise concerns about rising tensions in the South China Sea.
He said he would also bring up the case of Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who was sentenced to four years in prison in Beijing on espionage charges. “The case needs to be resolved,” Albanese told reporters on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong will join him in Beijing before stopping by Tokyo for talks on the sidelines of the Group of Seven meeting, Wong’s office said.
news source (www.brecorder.com)