Chinese premier to visit Australia for first time in 7 years

    WORLD  15 June 2024 - 14:42

    Chinese Premier Li Qiang is due to arrive in Australia on Saturday on a four-day official visit, with trade talks and panda diplomacy high on the agenda.

    According to Anadolu, Li concluded his three-day visit to New Zealand, the first leg of his three-nation tour from June 13 to 20.

    During his stay in Australia, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and co-chair the ninth China-Australia Annual Leaders' Meeting before leaving for Malaysia.

    China's second-most powerful politician after President Xi Jinping is also expected to visit Adelaide Zoo, which has been the home of China-born pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni since 2009, and a lithium processing plant in the Kwinana Beach industrial estate.

    Li’s visit is the first by a Chinese prime minister in seven years. He is also expected to discuss the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine pact, tariffs, and military activities in the Asia Pacific.

    Beijing's desire to enter the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is also expected to be discussed. The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam.

    China initiated a reset of the bilateral relationship after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's election in 2022. Ties suffered during the previous administration over the call for an independent investigation into the causes of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other measures.

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