China's rare 'positive' message to Australia: 'Noted'

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·Associate News Editor
·2-min read
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It's been such a torrid few years for Sino-Australian relations, Beijing's welcoming remarks on Tuesday come as somewhat of an unexpected surprise.

It has been well publicised the Albanese government has been offered an olive branch so to speak to trigger a reset for relations, yet Labor has stressed it will not kowtow to China's demands and Australia's national interests remain at the forefront of its decision making.

Zhao Lijian, an abrasive foreign ministry spokesperson, who routinely criticised the Morrison government in recent years, particularly former defence minister Peter Dutton, continued Beijing's positive rhetoric surrounding the relationship's future.

It comes after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters Australia "does not respond to demands" after Foreign Minister Wang Yi revealed four steps Australia could take to trigger a reset.

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Positive remarks about Australia from Zhao Lijian are a rare occurrence. Source: FMPRC

And while the demands made headlines across Australia, his Australian counterpart Penny Wong called Mr Wang's statement "reasonably unsurprising" and pointed out they are nothing new. She said she will deal with China "in a considered way".

China welcomes Australia's 'positive' words

Such a response appears to have been music to the ears of Beijing, with Ms Wong indicating she is committed to avoiding the brash China commentary seen from some members of the Morrison government.

"China has noted the positive elements of the statement of the Australian side," Mr Zhao told a daily news briefing.

"We hope the Australian side can seize the opportunities, shape up a right perception of China, stay committed to seeking common ground while putting differences aside when getting along with China."

Mr Zhao once again called for "concrete actions", a consistent message from Beijing which suggests China is waiting for Australia to take the first step.

Yet Australia is holding out for a raft of trade sanctions implemented during Morrison's tenure to be scrapped, and while the Albanese government has ended a three-year diplomatic freeze, a meeting between trade ministers has yet to materialise.

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