China’s Envoy to Australia Says 2 Nations at ‘New Juncture’ – The Diplomat

China’s ambassador to Australia says relations between the 2 international locations are at a “new juncture” with the election of a brand new Australian authorities and the primary minister-to-minister talks in additional than two years.

Ambassador Xiao Qian gave an upbeat evaluation of the potential for the bilateral relationship in a weekend speech to the Australia-China Friendship Society within the west coast metropolis of Perth. The speech was printed Monday on the embassy’s web site.

“The international, political and economic landscape is undergoing profound and complex changes. The China-Australia relationship is at a new juncture, facing many opportunities,” Xiao mentioned.

“My embassy and the Chinese consulates-general in Australia stand ready to work with the Australian federal government, state governments and friends from all walks of life to move forward the China-Australia relationship along the right track to the benefits of our two countries and two peoples,” Xiao added.

Xiao’s speech Saturday got here a day earlier than Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe’s hourlong assembly together with his Australian counterpart Richard Marles on the sidelines of a regional safety summit in Singapore.

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Marles described the assembly as a “critical first step” in repairing bilateral relations. But observers are cautious of describing the assembly as a thawing of a diplomatic deep freeze between the international locations.

Dennis Richardson, a former head of Defense, Foreign Affairs, and the spy company Australian Security Intelligence Organization in addition to a former Australian ambassador to the United States, famous that each governments took their first alternative to have ministerial contact since Australia’s authorities modified at elections May 21.

Bilateral relations had soured within the 9 years {that a} conservative coalition had held energy.

“The fact that they agreed to talk at the very first opportunity is noteworthy,” Richardson instructed Australian Broadcasting Corp on Monday.

“I don’t think we should get too far down the track on this. We have a long way to go,” Richardson added.

Malcolm Davis, a senior analyst in protection technique and functionality on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute suppose tank, warned in opposition to overstating the importance of the assembly.

“They had an hourlong meeting where they exchanged, in a frank and full manner, their respective views. That does not equate to restoring the status quo ante of the Australian relationship as it existed prior to 2015 when the relationship was reasonably good,” Davis mentioned.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wrote to congratulate Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese days after his election victory in a gesture seen by some as China searching for to reset the connection.

Albanese responded by urging China to indicate goodwill by lifting a sequence of official and unofficial commerce boundaries created lately to a spread of Australian exports value billions of {dollars} together with coal, wine, barley, beef, and seafood.

Bates Gill, a Macquarie University professional on Chinese overseas coverage, suspected Beijing wouldn’t budge on commerce sanctions.

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“It would have to come at some price of Australia agreeing to Chinese demands. I just don’t think the politics at the moment are going to allow for that,” Gill mentioned.

Bilateral relations plumbed new depths early within the pandemic when Australia referred to as for an impartial investigation into the origins of and responses to COVID-19.

China’s newest ambassador to Australia has set a extra conciliatory tone since he arrived in Canberra in January than his predecessor, Cheng Jingye, did.

Cheng warned in 2020 of Chinese commerce boycotts if Australia persevered with its name for a COVID-19 inquiry.

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