Warming up: China-Australia relations ‘renewed and revitalised’

Australia’s relationship with China is on a path of “steady improvement”, Beijing’s second-most powerful leader said following talks with top Australian politicians.


Jun 17, 2024, updated Jun 17, 2024
Chinese Premier Li Qiang shakes hands with Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Parliament House in Canberra. MICK TSIKAS/Pool via REUTERS

Chinese Premier Li Qiang shakes hands with Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Parliament House in Canberra. MICK TSIKAS/Pool via REUTERS

Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrived at Parliament House on Monday for an annual leaders’ meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and several cabinet members including Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong, Trade Minister Don Farrell and Resources Minister Madeleine King.

Earlier his motorcade pulled into Parliament House as protesters’ chants reverberated during the ceremonial 19-gun salute.

Emerging from the high-stakes discussions, Mr Albanese said such talks were crucial for the bilateral relationship.

“My government has put dialogue at the centre of Australia’s relationship with China, because they’re always most effective when we deal directly with each other,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“It is crucial for us to engage with each other, given how close we are geographically, how interconnected we are economically, and the deep and enduring bonds between our people.

“Australia and China have renewed and revitalised our engagement.”

The politicians signed four memoranda of understanding on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, climate change, education and research, strategic economic dialogue, and cultural co-operation.

The prime minister’s November trip to China followed by Mr Li’s current visit to Australia showed both countries attached “great importance” to their relationship, the premier said.

“This relationship is on the right track of steady improvement,” he said.

“Prime Minister Albanese and I have had a candid, in-depth and fruitful discussion that has reached a lot of common consensus.”

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Representatives of both nations then attended a state lunch with business and community leaders where they were served wine, wagyu beef and, most notably, Australian rock lobster – which remains subject to trade restrictions.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt noted there had been “enormous progress” in restoring trade with China in the past few years after sanctions on coal, wine and barley were lifted.

The remaining trade bans are expected to be lifted within weeks but exporters could face them again, Australian National University research fellow Benjamin Herscovitch warned.

“Canberra will be trying to hold the line, not give Beijing too much but also not once again enrage Beijing and prompt Beijing to impose trade restrictions once again,” Herscovitch told ABC.

The opposition, including Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, has urged the government to stand up for itself when addressing thornier issues like foreign interference and broader geopolitical issues.

“We have got to stand up for ourselves, because otherwise, people say you’re weak, and if you’re weak, you get walked over,” he told Seven’s Sunrise.

Mr Li’s visit is the first by a Chinese premier to Australia in seven years and comes after a period of turbulence for the country’s biggest trading partner, while recent military incidents in international waters have threatened the diplomatic thaw.

Both pro and anti-China protesters have congregated throughout Canberra with flags and bunting on street corners near parliament.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy