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China’s Premier visits Australia, the first time in seven years

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China's Premier will attend talks with businesses and Government officials during a visit to Australia's Parliament House.
China Premier Australia visit

The Premier of China Li Qiang has arrived in Australia, the first such visit since 2017.

Li, a senior Government official, will visit Canberra, Adelaide, and Perth for four days of meetings and events.

It comes after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Beijing in November last year.

Improved diplomatic ties between the two countries follow heightened tensions during the pandemic. Last month, the Government announced China had lifted a ban on Australian beef exports.

Background

Several factors have contributed to increased tensions between Australia and China. This includes concerns over China’s human rights abuses, its increased aggression in the Asia-Pacific, and its growing ties with Russia.

China also placed restrictions on some Australian exports during the pandemic. This came after the Government said it would support an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, which China said “hurt its feelings”.

Several of these have been repealed, including wine, barley and beef exports.

The visit

China’s Premier will attend talks with businesses and Government officials during a visit to Australia’s Parliament House.

Around a fifth of Australian exports are sent to China.

Discussions are expected to focus on business and trade ties between the two countries.

Albanese said he would “continue to pursue a stable and direct relationship with China” during Li’s visit.

China is yet to lift a trade sanction on Australian lobster exports. The Premier is expected to visit SA, where there is a large lobster industry.

The Prime Minister said he “would like to see any impediments to our lobsters… being removed.”

Li will also head to WA to visit a lithium refinery part-owned by the Chinese Government.

Pandas

Adelaide Zoo is home to the only Giant Pandas in Australia. ‘Wang Wang’ and ‘Fu Ni’ are on loan from the Chinese Government.

Premier Li is expected to make an announcement on the pandas’ future during his visit to Adelaide this weekend.

The PM said he didn’t want to pre-empt any news, but noted his government was “pro-panda” during a press conference on Tuesday. “I think that the presence of those pandas… has been something that’s brought a great deal of joy,” Albanese said.

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