Albanese ready and waiting for invitation to Beijing
Photo: Defence Connect
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has welcomed the possibility of a diplomatic visit to Beijing, if it was offered by the People’s Republic of China president, Xi Jinping.
Albanese made the comment during a public address on 5 April after being questioned about media reports of an official invitation being extended to his office earlier in the week.
“I’ve met with President Xi, and I think dialogue is a good thing. So I have said that if an invitation were to be received then I would accept it and we would work out a timetable for it,” Albanese said.
“I will be attending the G7 Meeting in Tokyo, and then, of course, I’ll be hosting the Quad Leaders Meeting here as well.”
The invitation debate follows the Australian government’s recent ban on the use of Chinese social media app TikTok on government devices and the widely publicised acceptance of the AUKUS defence agreement, both decisions have been criticised by the PRC.
“China is our major trading partner. I say that we will cooperate with China where we can, we will disagree where we must, and engage in our national interests,” Albanese said.
“I expect that my trade minister, Don Farrell, will visit China sometime in the coming weeks or months going forward. Dialogue is always a good thing. The premier in Victoria has just come back.
“In WA, I was with Premier McGowan, who is planning to visit. Obviously, it is a resources state (and) it is important the relationship for WA.”
PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said she was unable to confirm if an invitation has been sent to Australia, during a regular press conference on 4 April.
“The healthy and stable development of China–Australia relations serves the common interests of both countries and the peoples of the two countries,” she said.
“We stand ready to work with the Australian side to follow through on the important common understandings reached between the leaders of the two countries in their meeting in Bali and the outcomes of the China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, uphold the principles of mutual respect, win-win cooperation and seeking common ground while shelving differences, maintain high-level exchanges, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, properly manage and control differences, and bring the bilateral relations back on track.”