‘Big change’: Albo open to visiting China

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Anthony Albanese has spoken out on Australia’s relations with China, admitting they were once not “healthy”.

The Prime Minister said he was open to visiting China in early 2023 during an interview with Sky News on Thursday.

“We of course will examine any invitation that come in,” he said.

“That makes a big change from the previous term when there was no contact, not even phone contact and that’s not a healthy situation.”

He said a delegation of Australian MPs visiting Taiwan was not intended to taper the two countries’ relations.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is open to visiting China. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin OllmanPrime Minister Anthony Albanese is open to visiting China. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

“This wasn’t a government-to-government visit by those MPs,” Mr Albanese said.

“I think this year has seen a better relationship, clearly, with China.

“When I met with President Xi Jinping in Bali, what we’ve said was that we would continue to look at measures to move forward together.”

Mr Albanese said a strong relationship with China was paramount for Australia’s trading place within the region.

“It is in our interest to have a better relationship with our major trading partner, but it’s also in the interests of peace and security in the region to have dialogue,” he said.

“What I’ve said about China is we should co-operate where we can but be prepared to disagree where we must, and we will always of course seek to stand up for Australia’s national interest.”

It comes days after Australia committed to making a security deal with Vanuatu public in direct contrast to the contentious arrangement forged between China and the Solomon Islands earlier this year.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong made the promise in Port Vila on Tuesday after signing a deal with Vanuatu Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau that secures Australia as the island nation’s principal security partner of choice.

In a clear reference to China, whose security deal with the Solomon Islands was never released publicly, Senator Wong said the agreement would be available for all because the two countries were “committed to democracy, accountability and transparency”.

China signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands before the May election, prompting Mr Albanese to accuse former prime minister Scott Morrison of allowing a “Pacific stuff-up” under his watch.

Read related topics:Anthony AlbaneseChina

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