Australia, China heads meet at G20 to ‘stabilize’ relations

Nusa Dua, Indonesia, Nov 15 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on Tuesday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia in an attempt to “stabilize” diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“We have had our differences (,,,) but our bilateral relationship is an important one,” Albanese said in Nusa Dua, in the island of Bali, at the start of the meeting, according to state broadcaster ABC.

Albanese also underlined that diplomatic relations between Australia and China, established in 1972, were based on “equality, mutual respect and benefit, and a commitment to coexist peacefully,” principles that “remain important today.”

Regarding global issues, the Australian prime minister also urged Xi to use his close ties with Russia to help avoid a possible nuclear escalation in Ukraine.

“On Taiwan, I certainly raised that issue. I put (forward) Australia’s position, which is support for the status quo,” Albanese told ABC after the meeting.

Albanese, at the start of the meeting, had stressed on the need to respect international law and work for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Indo-Pacific region at a time of global uncertainty.

“China is a major power with global interests and it was valuable to exchange views on challenges to international peace and security, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Albanese said in a statement.

The meeting between Xi and Albanese on the sidelines of the G20 summit was the first official meet between the heads of state of the two countries since 2016.

The coming of the Labor party to power in Australia in May after nine years of conservative rule opened the door to meetings of the foreign and defence ministers of both nations, marking the first high-level meetings between them since 2020.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries began to freeze following a number of disagreements, including the exclusion of Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G network in 2018 for security reasons.

Since then, relations have further deteriorated over issues such as the militarization of China, and the adoption of laws in Australia against foreign interference and spying, focused on Chinese donations to politicians and cyber attacks on state agencies and universities attributed to China.

Moreover, China was particularly displeased by Australia’s request for an independent investigation into the origin of Covid-19, and responded to it by imposing import tariffs on several Australian products. EFE


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