China And Australia 'not Ready' To Solve Disputes

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2022-08-10 HKT 14:52

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  • Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, speaks at the National Press Club in Canberra. Photo: AP

    Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, speaks at the National Press Club in Canberra. Photo: AP

China's ambassador to Australia said that more is needed to be done to reset relations between Canberra and Beijing and that the two nations were not at the stage of solving political and trade disputes.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, ambassador Xiao Qian also said there had been no meeting between leaders from the two trading partners in recent years because Beijing believed a face-to-face meeting could worsen strained ties.

"It's because we did not believe the meeting would help to improve the relationship and we were concerned the meeting could perhaps make things even more deteriorated," he said.

China is Australia's largest trading partner and the biggest customer for its iron ore.

Beijing imposed trade sanctions on Australian products ranging from coal to seafood and wine in response to policies and decisions such as Australia's call for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19 and its 5G network ban on Huawei.

Australia and China's foreign ministers met for the first time in three years last month on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Bali, after the election of a Labor government.

Despite some contact between ministers, "we have not yet come to the stage to discuss about how to solve those specific issues, political issues, trade issues", Xiao said on Wednesday.

He said it was "a good start only and there is a lot to be done to really reset this relationship".

China would discuss with Australia whether conditions were right for a meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in November when the leaders are in Indonesia for a Group of 20 summit.

“As ambassador, I’m hoping for the best and I’m going to try to make all my efforts toward that direction,” Xiao said.

Xiao added the new Australian government had made a good start to its relationship with China after a “difficult time for a couple of years".

“But it’s a good start only. There’s a lot to be done to really reset this relationship.” (Agencies)