Chinese leader Xi Jinping will host Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Beijing on Monday (Nov 6), marking a significant milestone in their nations’ relations after years of strained ties that led to a substantial decline in trade.
While Beijing serves as Canberra’s largest trading partner, tensions arose in 2020 when Australia’s then-conservative government excluded Chinese tech giant Huawei from 5G contracts and demanded an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
In response, Beijing retaliated by imposing punitive tariffs on various Australian exports, such as coal, barley, and wine, causing a sharp deterioration in the relationship.
Monday’s meeting between the two leaders will mark the first of its kind in over seven years.
Since Albanese assumed office in May last year, both countries have been working towards a reset, with Beijing easing most of its restrictions on Australian goods.
However, Albanese acknowledges the necessity of maintaining a clear understanding of the differences between the two nations. He has made it clear that he doesn’t see them as strategically aligned.
Beijing has expressed discontent with Australia’s security alliance with the United States and Britain, criticizing its decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines as an apparent move to counter Chinese military influence in the Asia-Pacific.
Anthony Albanese, on his part, has advocated for nations’ rights to self-determination, emphasized human rights, and promoted the preservation of peace. This includes his stance on the Taiwan Strait, which separates China from the self-governing island it claims as part of its territory.