Anthony Albanese to hold ‘really important’ G20 meeting with Xi Jinping

There are clear signs emerging from the G20 Summit that China wants a better relationship with Australia.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese won’t immediately fix the fractured relationship between the two countries, or result in the removal of trade sanctions worth $20 billion.

Mr Albanese will meet Mr Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Tuesday afternoon, marking the first time since 2016 the Chinese leader has met an Australian prime minister.

Dr Chalmers hailed the meeting as a welcome opportunity to return the relationship back to normal, but warned all of Australia’s issues wouldn’t be resolved off the back of it.

“I don’t think anybody pretends that some of the issues that China has raised, certainly some of the issues that we have raised, will be solved overnight,” he told ABC Radio.

“We give ourselves a much better chance where there’s engagement and dialogue and there will be today.”

Dr Chalmers reiterated the lifting of the tariffs was a key issue for the relationship to stabilise.

“These trade restrictions are obviously not in Australia’s interests, not in the interest of our employers and our exporters,” he said.

“There’s a sense of working together, where there is agreement, there is common ground, and I think that is a really, really important start.”

He said the government remained deeply concerned over the detention of two Australians, including journalist Cheng Lei who has been held in custody for more than two years now and hasn’t been allowed contact with her family.

“A bit like the trade restrictions, I think Australia has made its views pretty clear over a longer period of time when it comes to the detention of these two people,” Dr Chalmers said.

While Mr Albanese would not reveal what he plans to discuss with the Chinese president at the G20, he considered it a success that a meeting was taking place.

“For six years we have not had any dialogue and it is not in Australia’s interest to not have dialogue with our major trading partners,” he told reporters in Bali.

“We will have a constructive dialogue. I will put Australia’s position on a range of issues, and of course, Australia’s positions on most of those is very well known.”

China’s trade sanctions on Australian products, security muscle-flexing and relationship with Russia will provide a backdrop for the significant meeting.

The head of Australia’s peak business group, in Bali for the G20 meeting of industry representatives, described it as a “tremendous reset” with China.


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