China-Australia ties proceeding in ‘right direction’: Xi Jinping

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Chinese President Xi Jinping said relations between Australia and China are proceeding in “the right direction, ahead of a meeting of top trade officials from the two countries expected to take place within months.

According to state-run news agency Xinhua, Xi sent a message to Governor General David Hurley to mark Australia Day. The Chinese leader said he attached “great importance to the development of relations between the two countries.

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“The two countries have reviewed the past and looked to the future, making active efforts towards the right direction of improving and growing China-Australia ties,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

Relations between Australia and China have improved since the election of the center-left Labor government in May, led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Under Albanese’s predecessor Scott Morrison, Beijing imposed trade sanctions on Australian exports, including coal, barley and seafood, after he called for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Since Albanese’s election, Australian and Chinese officials have met for talks on foreign policy and defense, and there are hopes for an imminent thaw in the trade relationship. Trade Minister Don Farrell is expected to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao for talks in the first half of 2023.

When asked on Sky News on Wednesday whether he expected to travel to Beijing in 2023 for a state visit, Albanese said he would “wait and see.”

“There is increased engagement at different levels between our respective agencies, and that’s a positive thing,” he said.

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