Australia is set for another breakthrough in mending its relationship with China as state media revealed repercussions of the two countries' high-profile fallout could soon come to an end.
Beijing's trade sanctions slapped on Aussie exports in 2020 were widely seen as a retaliation to the then Morrison government which was accused of several provocative moves including unfairly blocking Chinese investment in Australia and calling for external investigations into the origins of Covid-19.
It was the start of a torrid two-and-a-half year period for Sino-Australian ties which was marred by an ugly back-and-forth between personnel within the two countries' governments, namely then defence minister Peter Dutton who was accused of "hyping" China's threat to the region.
However since Labor won last year's federal election, the relationship has been on the mend, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ending a six-year wait for an Australian PM to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
And late on Friday, Beijing mouthpiece the Global Times quoted anonymous industry insiders that timber and lobster exports will soon resume.
While there had been reports earlier this week from the ABC and the South China Morning Post such a move was imminent, the line direct from Chinese state-run media is the strongest indication yet a return to trade is on the horizon.
One Chinese importer said he had acquired the documentation to import Australian lobsters with a recommencement likely in the "near future".
The industry representative told the Global Times both sides are "currently preparing" for the import of Australian timber into China.
Trade Minister Don Farrell, who said the possible return to trade was a "positive sign", has also been invited to visit China, the ABC reported.
Australia must still abandon Cold War mentality, China warns
And while trade could restart, experts are warning more is needed from Canberra to demonstrate it is committed to the relationship, while in the absence of Australian trade, other countries have adequately filled the void and in some cases at a cheaper price.
Australia's commitment to its AUKUS security pact with the UK and US continues to be a major issue for Beijing, while Defence Minister Richard Marles' announcement Chinese-made cameras in the defence department will be examined over security fears has further riled the Chinese Communist Party.
"This surveillance camera melodrama is for the purpose of instigating a social panic about the so-called 'China threat,' to demonise and stigmatise China, with the ultimate aim of thwarting the ongoing improvement of bilateral relations," Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies told the Global Times.
"The Albanese administration apparently needs to bring the damage [to China-Australia relations] under control instead of allowing it to further erode mutual trust."
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