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Action needs to follow China dialogue: PM

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Increasing dialogue between Australia and China is an important step forward but needs to be followed up with concrete action, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

Mr. Albanese said Beijing had changed and become more aggressive under President Xi Jinping, after Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles. ended the diplomatic freeze in meeting with his Chinese counterparts.

“It’s always good that people have dialogue and discussion and it’s been something that’s been missing in recent years,” Mr Albanese said in Brisbane on Tuesday.

“But there is a need for concrete steps forward. It is China that has changed the nature of the relationship.

“China needs to remove the sanctions that have been put in place. There is no reason for them to be there.”

Australia has fulfilled all its contractual obligations, he said.

Mr Albanese, who responded to a message congratulating Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, said while Australia wanted a trade relationship with China, it would not compromise its value.

It came after Mr Marles said he was open to further diplomatic meetings with China.

Mr. Marles said that although there was a long way to go before regular communication with China resumed, the resumption of ministerial talks was an important first step.

He spoke with his Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe at a recent international forum in Singapore, the first such meeting after a nearly three-year freeze.

“There was a desire at the meeting that we had, on both sides, put the relationship in a better place,” Mr Marles told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“The door is open for more meetings, but I think we need to understand that the relationship has not been in a good place at all, and this is only the first step and there is still a long way to go.”

China-Australia relations have been frozen since Australia called for an investigation into the origin of COVID-19, which sparked discussions with Australia’s largest trading partner.

While talks with China came after a change of government in Australia, Mr Marles said there had been no change in policy.

“We want to assert our rights in places like the South China Sea, we see the importance of a global order, based on rules in the Pacific,” he said.

“We will go about our relations with China … our relations with the whole world in a professional way, where we understand the importance of dialogue, where we believe in the power of diplomacy.”

Mr. Marles to Japan for a three-day visit.

He will hold talks with his Japanese defense chief, Nobuo Kishi, and predict that Indo-Pacific issues are on the agenda.

Tensions were rising in the region after China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands, and sought similar bilateral deals with other nations in the region.

Mr Marles said Australia wanted to work closely with Solomon, following talks between him and the country’s defense minister.

“We have to be the natural partners of choice,” he said.

“We understand that it’s not something we get well, we need to get the job done.”

-AAP

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Action needs to follow China dialogue: PM Source link Action needs to follow China dialogue: PM

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