| 17 July 2024, Wednesday |

China, Australia agree to turn the page as tensions ease

In a clear indication that Beijing was prepared to put the recent tensions behind it, President Xi Jinping stated on Monday that stable relations between China and Australia suited each other’s interests and that both parties should increase their collaboration.

At the Great Hall of the People in the center of the Chinese capital, Xi addressed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the first Australian leader to visit Beijing since 2016. The two countries should work to strengthen their strategic partnership as they gain mutual understanding and trust.

A strong relationship “will be beneficial into the future,” Albanese told Xi in their second face-to-face talks in a year, a meeting that lasted more than an hour.

For decades, China and Australia built a relationship on trade, with Beijing becoming Canberra’s biggest commercial partner with purchases of Australian food and natural resources.

But ties soured after Australia in 2017 accused China of meddling in its politics. The following year, Australia banned equipment from Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (HWT.UL) for its 5G network out of national security fears.

An Australian call in 2020 for an international inquiry into the origin of the COVID pandemic, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, infuriated Beijing, which responded with blocks on various Australian imports.

  • Reuters