Anthony Albanese has responded to China's demands intended to help mend the relationship between the two countries after Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi took aim at Australia's former government.
Mr Wang called on the Albanese government to help "reshape a correct perception of China" and outlined four clear actions the Prime Minister should take to strengthen China-Australia relations.
But addressing the press in Canberra on Monday morning, Mr Albanese pushed back, saying: "Look, Australia doesn't respond to demands. We respond to our own national interests."
"We will cooperate with China where we can. I want to build good relations with all countries," he added.
"But we will stand up for Australia's interests when we must."
China's swipe at Morrison government
The comments came after a meeting between Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and Mr Wang last week.
Mr Wang blamed the Coalition for the fractured relationship between the two countries, insisting the Morrison government continued to paint China as the enemy.
"The root cause of the difficulties in Chinese and Australian relations in recent years lies in the insistence of previous Australian governments to treat China as an 'opponent' and even a 'threat'," Mr Wang said.
Mr Albanese was questioned about claims from Chinese media that Ms Wong and her Chinese counterpart agreed to remove obstacles to get the China-Australia relationship back on track.
"I'm not in a position to listen to what the Chinese media says," he said. "I'll listen to what Penny Wong says about the meeting."
Mr Albanese described their meeting as "constructive" adding it was a "step forward" in the right direction.
The move comes after a turbulent two years which saw Sino-Australian relations rapidly deteriorate under the Morrison government.
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