Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will travel to China on Saturday for a state visit, marking a long-awaited thaw in relations between Beijing and Canberra.
Australian Prime Minister’s Thaw in Relations
It is the first visit by an Australian leader in seven years as the two countries seek to strengthen ties after a diplomatic row that affected billions of dollars in trade. Before his arrival, Albanese said his long-awaited visit was a “very positive step” in stabilizing strained relations between the two countries.
Building Bridges: The State Visit Itinerary
“This is a very positive step in my first visit to our most important trading partner in seven years,” Albanese said in Darwin. “I look forward to discussions and constructive dialogue with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li during my visit.” The capital of the Northern Territory of Australia. “This is the result of a patient, coordinated and cautious approach to our relationship with China.”
Albarn plans to spend four days in China, splitting his time between the capital Beijing and the eastern metropolis Shanghai.
His government has pushed for closer ties with Australia’s biggest trading partner to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the Albanians will meet Chinese leaders, and “will fulfill the exchange of opinions on international and regional problems of common interests.”
A Changing Dynamic: From Tensions to Thaw
China is willing to work with Australia to strengthen this visit, to increase mutual confidence, to extend cooperation, to deepen friendship and to insist on constant improvement. “A healthy and stable relationship between China and Australia serves the fundamental interests of both countries and people,” he added.
The bonhomie is in stark contrast to three years ago, when relations between the two countries were severely frozen. In 2020, China registered a series of rates of punishment interest for Australian raw materials, after the Canberra Conservative government called for a survey on the origin of COVID-19, except for the Huawei technological giant in the 5G contract.
But, under the liberal administration of Alvanes, these rates have been high, and Beijing stressed that a similar punishment for Australian wine will be abolished. “China-Australia relations are now at an important stage – since going to Australia,” Xiao Qiang, China’s ambassador to Australia, wrote ahead of the Albanian’s visit.
The ambassador welcomed the return of Australia’s exports of coal, timber and barley to the Chinese market thanks to “sustained efforts on both sides”.
In addition to the new friendship, China released Australian journalist Chen Lei, who had been detained for three years on espionage charges. The sons of Australian writer Yang Jun, who has been jailed in China on espionage charges since 2019, have asked Albanians to take up his case and perform the same “miracle” for their father.
However, the Albanian side pointed out that China and Australia are strategically incompatible. He visited Washington last month and said: “We are two countries with completely different histories, values and political systems.”
The prime minister warned that China does not see itself as a power that supports the “status quo”. Instead, “countries are looking for regions that are more responsive to their values and interests,” he said.
The Australian leader said all countries benefiting from the “rules-based international order” had an obligation to work together to protect it. He called for the right to self-determination, the protection of human rights and the maintenance of peace for all countries, including the Taiwan Strait.