'Encouraging signs': PM lauds improving ties with China

As China's premier ends his four-day Australian visit, Anthony Albanese says there are "encouraging signs" of stability between the two countries.

Li Qiang was due to fly out of Perth on Tuesday afternoon after talks with business and community leaders about strengthening economic ties and critical mineral exports.

Mr Albanese said there was room for the relationship to expand, telling an Australia-China CEO roundtable it would lead to the success of both countries.

"The resumption of this roundtable is yet another encouraging sign of the stabilisation of the relationship between our two great nations," he said.

"This event also speaks for the determination and optimism that we must draw on to meet the challenges of this moment and build for the opportunities ahead."

The visit has raised optimism that China might lift trade sanctions on Australian lobster, following the easing of restrictions on other goods such as barley, beef and wine.

Mr Albanese said the removal of sanctions led to economic boosts in China and Australia, labelling it a win-win.

"Australian farmers, growers, producers, miners and exporters are benefiting from being able to sell their cotton, copper, coal, timber, oat and hay, barley and wine to China again," he said.

"Equally, Chinese consumers and businesses are benefiting from being able to buy these high-quality, high-value Australian exports."

Mr Li's final day in Australia saw him meet with Western Australian Premier Roger Cook, visit a lithium plant and tour a research facility for mining giant Fortescue.

The visit struck a sour note when Chinese officials attempted to block the view of journalist Cheng Lei while in Canberra on Monday.

Chinese-born Australian journalist Cheng Lei.
Chinese officials stood near journalist Cheng Lei to block her view and prevent filming of her. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

During a signing ceremony at Parliament House between Mr Albanese and Mr Li, Chinese officials moved in front of Ms Lei to obstruct her view and attempt to stop her being filmed by cameras.

Ms Lei had been held as a prisoner in China for three years before she was released in October.

The prime minister said Australian officials had raised concern with the Chinese embassy over the incident, saying it underscored the differences that remain between the two countries.

"We have different values and different political systems, and we saw some of that ... with the attempt that was pretty ham-fisted to block Cheng Lei," he told Perth's Nova 93.7 radio station.

"The Australian officials did the right thing and intervened, but that showed that they're different systems that are there."

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said he welcomed the developments following Mr Li's visit.

However, he expressed concern with Chinese officials following the incident with Ms Lei in Canberra.

"The Chinese should have had absolutely nothing to fear from her presence as a professional, respectful journalist," he told Sky News.

"(The officials) should think long and hard about the fact that this type of distraction caused by inappropriate conduct on their behalf is counterproductive."

Chinese supporters awaiting the arrival of Premier Li Qiang
The visit has raised optimism that China might lift further trade sanctions on Australian goods. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Closer ties with China would greatly benefit Australian industries, particularly green hydrogen, Fortescue chair Andrew Forrest said.

"If we end up doing this, then it will be equipment sourced in Australia and China, everything made in Australia, and all the product distributed and supplied to the world," he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

"Our customers need the world to go green. Our customers need China to go green. Australia, if we position ourselves correctly, can help them on that path, that means we win economically, but the world wins environmentally."