Strengthening Connections: Penny Wong Heads to China for Important Talks

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To celebrate fifty years of diplomatic relations between Australia and China, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong declared on Monday that she would meet with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing this week.

China’s Foreign Ministry announced that a brand-new round of long-stalled China and Australia talks on foreign policy concerns and diplomatic strategy would occur this Tuesday and Wednesday. This is an exciting step forward in fostering further relations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s election victory in May has resulted in a significant thaw between the two nations, and this trip is indicative of that. The newly appointed Prime Minister, who replaced the more conservative Scott Morrison as a leader, is emblematic of Australia’s shift towards better relations with its neighbours.

Last month in Bali, Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping connected on the edges of the Group of 20 summits, the first formal gathering between world leaders in six years.

During his conversation with Wang, Wong will focus on trade; Australia continues to pressure China to eradicate the billions of dollars worth of sanctions enacted since 2020.

“China has been recognized as a key economic power and is now Australia’s largest trading partner, with its success continuing to expand,” Albanese and Wong said in a joint statement. “Australia and China’s flourishing trade, accompanied by our mutual people-to-people, cultural and business connections, have proven to be a major advantage for both of us.”

After a formal invitation from the Chinese government to meet with Wang, Albanese and Wong decided to take the trip for their sixth Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue since 2018.

“Australia strives to establish a stable connection with China; we want to collaborate when possible, candidly express our differences where necessary and always prioritise the wellbeing of our nation.” Albanese and Wong said in their statement.

In the wake of China’s failed endeavour to sign a far-reaching multilateral agreement with ten countries of the South Pacific, Foreign Minister Wong and Wang engaged in an exchange of diplomatic visits throughout the islands. This visit is one result thereof.

Mao Ning, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, expressed his wish that this visit would propel further progress in relations between China and other countries as established at the Bali summit.

Mao expressed his aspirations at a daily briefing that the two countries would be able to “revitalise their relationship and attain lasting progress,” illustrating China’s commitment towards creating an enduring connection.

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