Albanese would be the first Australian prime minister to have a formal meeting with Xi Jinping in six years, according to Australian media
Beijing-Canberra ties strained in recent years over raft of issues, including Covid-19’s origins, and Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks in Australia
By Dewey Sim in Bali
November 14, 2022
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese; China’s President Xi Jinping. Photo: SCMP Pictures
Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed that he would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Summit in Indonesia on Tuesday, marking a possible turning point in bilateral ties that have been largely frozen in recent years.
Albanese would be the first Australian leader to have a formal meeting with Xi in six years, according to Australian media.
“Australia will put forward our own position, I look forward to having a constructive discussion with President Xi tomorrow,” Albanese, who arrived in the Indonesian island of Bali on Monday, told reporters.
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Ties between Canberra and Beijing have strained in recent years over a raft of issues, including Australia’s demand for an independent inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic and a ban on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks on security grounds.
Beijing, meanwhile, has imposed a series of official and unofficial trade restrictions on goods to the Chinese mainland including wine, coal, beef, seafood and barley that have hurt Australian exporters.
But there have been signs of thawing ties when Albanese’s Labor Party won elections in May, with China relaxing a ban on minister-to-minister contacts then.
On Sunday, Albanese spoke to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a gala dinner at a regional summit in Cambodia, opening the first leader-to-leader dialogue between the two countries since 2019, when former Australian leader Scott Morrison had an informal talk with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 in Japan.
Albanese later described the conversation with Li as “polite”.
The Australian leader earlier said he would ask China’s Xi to lift billions of dollars in trade barriers if the two leaders held a bilateral meeting.
Asked by reporters on Monday if he was optimistic, Albanese said: “We enter this discussion with goodwill, there are no preconditions on this discussion, I’m looking forward to having constructive dialogue.”