A New Beginning: China Sending Premier to Australia

A New Beginning: China Sending Premier to Australia

China – Premier Li Qiang arrives in Australia on Saturday, he will be the most senior Chinese leader to visit the country in seven years. This diplomatic achievement may be eclipsed by escalating tensions over military deployments and investment.

Li will embark on a four-day tour that includes stops in Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth, the Australian government announced in a statement on Tuesday. Since his predecessor Li Keqiang’s previous travel to Australia in March 2017 he will be the first senior Chinese leader to visit the country.

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At a news conference in Canberra to announce the visit, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stated, “Welcoming the Chinese Premier to Australia is an opportunity for us to advance our interests by demonstrating our national values, our people’s qualities, and our economy’s strengths.”

Li’s trip was confirmed by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lin Jian on Tuesday, who stated that there was a “promising future for cooperation” between the two nations.

Lin told reporters in Beijing, “China is prepared to collaborate with Australia during this visit to fortify high-level exchanges, improve mutual understanding and trust, deepen practical cooperation, and jointly build a more mature, stable, and fruitful comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia.”

Although Li’s specific itinerary is still unknown, Albanese stated he will attend a state lunch hosted by the Australian Parliament and participate in a CEO roundtable comprising business leaders from China and Australia.

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As the most recent indication of improving diplomatic relations between Beijing and Canberra, the visit by China’s second-ranking official after President Xi Jinping will be warmly received. Ever with the election of a center-left Labor government in May 2022, there has been a progressive improvement.

China has removed trade restrictions on Australian imports of wine, barley, meat, and lumber throughout the last 12 months. These were put in place during the Covid-19 epidemic in response to requests for an independent inquiry into the cause of the outbreak made by then-Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Exports of lobsters and beef meatworks from Australia to China are still restricted.

Li’s trip, nevertheless, occurs at a moment when the prospects for the diplomatic thaw seem less promising. Beijing has been pressuring Canberra to forge even stronger connections, but Albanese’s administration has merely stressed the need for stabilization.

Australia and the US have strengthened their security and diplomatic connections in recent years, notably through the Aukus security agreement, which calls for the delivery of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to Canberra by the 2030s In an effort to strengthen vital mineral supply chains, the Biden administration has also pushed for increased collaboration between Australia and the US.

Beijing has also been trying, albeit with limited success, to have more access to this important industry. Treasurer Jim Chalmers gave an investor with ties to China an order earlier this month to sell its shares in a rare earths miner.

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When questioned about Chinese investment in vital minerals on Tuesday, Albanese responded, “Foreign investment has a role to play in Australia; we do it on a case by case basis considering the national interest.”

Canberra and Beijing tensions have also increased as a result of numerous military clashes between the two nations. According to a recent public opinion survey Australians’ perceptions of the Chinese government have little changed since the outbreak ended.

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