Australia and China Agreed to Discuss the Revival of Bilateral Ties

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The Prime Ministers of Australia and China have pledged to amend bilateral ties damaged by recent issues such as the suspected interference of Beijing in the Oceanic country.

“We are ready to work with the Australian side to keep our relationship on the right track, deepen our mutual trust and jointly maintain regional and global peace,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said, according to a transcript of the dialog obtained by Efe news on Monday.

“We are ready to work with Australia to fully unlock the potential of our relations and expand our business ties and people to people exchange. This is to the benefit of both sides. We hope our relations will move in the direction of steady and sound growth,” he added in the conversation that took place here on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison replied that “like you, I feel very strongly and committed to improving that relationship and ensuring we realize its full potential”.

The meeting comes days after Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne caused China some discontent after a speech she made regarding alleged human rights violations committed by the Asian giant.

She pressed for the “fair and transparent treatment” of naturalized-Australian, Chinese-born writer Yang Hengjun, detained in China since the beginning of the year for alleged espionage, and improving the situation of the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang region.

Relations between Beijing and Canberra were also tense due to alleged Chinese interference in Australia’s domestic affairs.

Australia in June passed contentious new security laws, among other measures, after its intelligence agencies pointed to cases of espionage by Beijing both against the government and universities.

China is Australia’s main trading partner and the largest consumer of coal.

Trade between the two countries exceeds AU$200 billion ($138 billion) while the Asian giant’s investment in the Oceanic country sits at AU$64 billion, according to Morrison on Sunday.

However, political frictions affect some strategic decisions related to the economy and last year Australia blocked the entry of Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from providing equipment for its 5G network over security concerns.

SMEStreet Edit Desk

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