China’s Xi vows to work with Australia for sustainable ties

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Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with his Australian counterpart to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the latest sign of warming ties between the two major trade partners.

State broadcaster China Central Television reported Wednesday that Xi had sent messages to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor General David Hurley.

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Xi said China was willing to work with Australia to promote sustainable development of bilateral relations and that a stable and healthy diplomatic relationship is in the interest of both nations, CCTV said.

The election of the center-left Labor government in Australia in May has set in motion a diplomatic reset with China, repairing ties which had grown strained under the previous prime minister, Scott Morrison.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong is in China for the first state visit by a top Australian diplomat since 2018 and is expected to meet with counterpart Wang Yi.

In April 2020, calls by Morrison for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19 angered the Chinese government. It later placed trade sanctions on a number of Australian exports, including wine, barley and meat.

Since Morrison’s electoral loss, both sides have held several senior ministerial meetings, including talks between Albanese and Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in November.

In Twitter post on Wednesday, Albanese said Australia wanted to have a “stable relationship” with China.

“We will cooperate where we can, disagree where we must and engage in the national interest,” the Australian leader said.

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