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'Frank' China-Australia talks part of ongoing progress

From pandas to produce tariffs, all issues were on the table as China's and Australia's foreign ministers entered "frank" discussions aimed at thawing the once-icy bilateral relationship.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong held a sixth official meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Canberra on Wednesday.

Anthony Albanese and his Labor government have spent months rekindling the nations' relationship and he took a trip to China in November - the first by an Australian prime minister since 2016.

Mr Albanese met with Mr Wang at Parliament House on Wednesday afternoon, where the pair warmly greeted one another.

The Chinese foreign minister signed the prime minister's guest book.

He also met with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and opposition foreign spokesman Simon Birmingham.

Following her meeting with Mr Wang, Senator Wong said a stable relationship between Australia and China required work.

"The meeting was an opportunity for both the minister and I to exchange frank views on issues that matter to us," she told reporters.

"We want to continue to engage - to co-operate - where we can and disagree where we must, and to manage these differences wisely."

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Canberra. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Australia and China have made notable progress in a short period of time, and Senator Wong said it was important to recognise this.

Discussions covered a wide variety of topics with particular emphasis placed on the removal by China of beef, wine and lobster tariffs.

Senator Wong also raised the case of Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has received a suspended death sentence in China after he was charged with national security offences.

She also expressed concerns about unsafe conduct at sea and Australia's desire for peace and stability across the region.

Panda diplomacy also came up and the two discussed the fate of two pandas, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, on loan to Adelaide Zoo, though no agreement was finalised.

Peter Dutton meets Wang Yi.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton and his foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham meet Wang Yi. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

Ahead of their meeting, Mr Wang said Australia and China could learn from political tensions under previous governments.

"The past twists and turns over the decade leave us with lessons to draw on as well as valuable experience," he said.

"The development of our relations does not target any third party and should not be affected, or disrupted by any third party.

"Relations are now on the right track, so we shouldn't hesitate, we shouldn't let it veer off course and shouldn't go backwards."

The US secretary of state Anthony Blinken on Tuesday recommitted to defending the Philippines, a regional rival to China.

This prompted backlash from Beijing, which has said the US had "no right to intervene" as it is not party to issues in the South China Sea.

Penny Wong
Penny Wong is pushing for trade tariffs to be removed. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

Beijing has signalled a willingness to lift punitive tariffs on Australian wine by the end of the month after an interim recommendation for its review into the measures found they should be scrapped.

Crippling impediments on Australian beef and lobster also remain in place.

Mr Wang will meet with business leaders on Thursday.

Outside parliament, Tibetans and Uyghers cloaked in their respective flags protested Mr Wang's visit, urging the federal government not to overlook China's human rights abuses.

A group of Australian senators attended the protest.

"We are asking the Australian Government to put human rights above trade and hold the Chinese leadership to account for its atrocities in Tibet," said Australia Tibet Council executive Zoe Bedford.