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Wong lobbies Chinese counterpart over trade, Ukraine

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has lobbied her new Chinese counterpart to drop trade sanctions against Australia and step up opposition to the war in Ukraine.

Senator Wong met with Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in India where she raised reports of China readying the supply of lethal aid to Russia.

"The world does look to China for its responsible leadership when it comes to Ukraine, particularly given its close relationship with Russia," she told reporters in New Delhi.

"I would note President Zelenskiy himself has said he wants to believe China will do the right thing and not supply weapons to Russia.

"That's not only Australia's call but the call of all countries."

Senator Wong also raised the issues of consular cases of detained Australians in China and human rights abuses.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken also met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines.

Mr Blinken said he urged Russia to withdraw from Ukraine and rejoin a treaty putting limits on nuclear arsenals.

He reiterated the consequences for China should it supply military aid to Russia or help Moscow evade international sanctions.

Reuters is reporting Washington is sounding out close allies about the possibility of sanctioning China should it support Russia.

It remains unclear whether Australia has been approached as Canberra goes through a diplomatic thaw with Beijing.

Trade Minister Don Farrell is preparing to visit China as the two nations continue talks on dropping billions of dollars worth of trade sanctions against Australian industries, including seafood, cotton and timber.

Australian coal began being unloaded at Chinese ports in February following an unofficial embargo imposed at the start of the pandemic.