China-Australia relations to be based on mutual respect: Xi

Beijing, Dec 21 (EFE).- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday sent a message to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, saying that the ties between the two countries are of great importance to China and must be based on mutual respect.

Xi exchanged messages with Albanese and David Hurley, Governor-General of Australia, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Beijing and Canberra.

He said that the healthy and stable development of relations between China and Australia not only suits their people’s fundamental interests, but also helps maintain stability, peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Xi further expressed his hope of using the anniversary as an opportunity to promote sustainable development of the partnership between the nations.

In his message to Xi, Hurley conveyed Australia’s commitment to the development of a stable and constructive relation with China, guided by mutual respect.

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, had announced an official visit to China starting Wednesday in order to stabilize relations between the countries, in a new diplomatic outreach since ties between Canberra and Beijing started to get strained in 2018.

Wong will meet with China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, during the sixth Australia–China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue – last celebrated in 2018 – and commemorate the 50th anniversary of Australia-China relations, the Australian government informed.

Albanese and Xi met in November along the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The latter has doubled diplomatic efforts to bring Australia closer to its main business partner China, as several points of friction have appeared in bilateral ties in recent years.

The problems have aggravated due to various disagreements, including the blacklisting of Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G network for security reasons in 2018.

Ties have also deteriorated because of China’s militarization and Australia passing laws against foreign interference and espionage, after taking cognizance of China’s donations to politicians and cyberattacks on state organizations and universities.

China responded by imposing custom duties on various Australian imports, a move that has touched a raw nerve in Canberra. EFE


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