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China open to co-operation with Australia

Ambassador Xiao Qian says it's important for China and Australia to work together to maintain ties.

Ambassador Xiao Qian says it's important for China and Australia to work together to maintain ties. Photo: AAP

China wants to work with Australia to explore “new frontiers” including cooperation on addressing climate change.

China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday it had been a “positive, constructive and productive” period following the election of the Labor government.

Mr Xiao said meetings between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and President Xi Jinping, as well as Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s visit to Beijing had been key moments in rebuilding the relationship which had been through “a difficult period of time” over several years.

He said a “new consensus” was being built, but admitted differences over areas such as trade would require addressing “in a constructive manner”.

“This relationship is important for both sides and both sides should work together to improve, to uphold and to develop the relationship,” he said.

The ambassador flagged further exploration of “new frontiers”, especially in the area of green energy and electric cars.

“There is such a strong complementarity between the two countries,” he said.

Relations between the nations have been strained in recent years, highlighted by China’s $20 billion of trade sanctions against Australian exports of barley, beef, cotton, wine, lobsters and grapes.

Australia has complained to the World Trade Organisation about the barley and wine sanctions and the trade body’s findings are due later this year.

Reports last week suggested China’s state planner had allowed three central government-backed utilities and a steelmaker to restart importing coal from Australia.

Similar reports surfaced in July 2022, however the purported changes did not come to fruition.

– AAP

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