Australia’s Albanese says it would be positive if meeting arranged with China’s Xi

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese reacts during a meeting with Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, October 18, 2022. Lukas Coch/Pool via REUTERS

SYDNEY — Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping it would be a positive development after years of strained relations between the two countries.

Albanese is set to attend the G20 summit in Bali, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bangkok and the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, his office said on Wednesday.

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Xi is also set to attend the G20, an adviser to the Indonesian president has previously said, but it is unclear if he will be at the other meetings in the region that Albanese will attend.

“I’ve made it very clear that dialogue is a good thing, and if a meeting is arranged with Xi, then that would be a positive thing,” Albanese told a news conference in Canberra.

“We’re organizing a range of meetings but they haven’t been finalized,” he added.

Diplomatic ties between Australia and China have deteriorated sharply in recent years, with China imposing trade sanctions on some imports from Australia and reacting angrily to Canberra’s call for an international inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

Canberra on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into reports Australians were among Western military pilots who had been approached to help train the Chinese military.