Willing to ‘restore’ ties with Australia, says China

Beijing, Feb 8 (EFE).- China Wednesday expressed willingness to restore ties with Australia, days after commerce ministers of the two countries talked about bringing bilateral trade relations back on track after years of tension.

“China is willing to work with Australia to start and resume dialogue and communication in various fields based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefit,” foreign office spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters.

Mao said the two countries needed to “seek common ground” and put differences aside to “promote mutual trust.”

“We have to bring bilateral relations back to normal.”

Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell held a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao earlier this week.

The meeting did not end up in any breakthrough between the two countries, but Farrell said the talks were “another important step in the stabilization of Australian relations with China.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described “productive” the meeting, the first in three years between Australian and Chinese trade ministers.

In the meeting, Australia urged China to lift tariff measures and bans imposed in 2020 on several products Chinalike wine, wheat, coal, and lobsters.

Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in November on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Xi has doubled diplomatic efforts to bring Australia closer to its main business partner China.

The problems have been 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 China militarized the South China Sea.

Australia has passed 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 customs duties on various Australian products, which has touched a raw nerve in Canberra. EFE


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