Beijing, 6 November 2023 (TDI): Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with Chinese President Xi Jinping today at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, marking the first visit by an Australian leader to mainland China in seven years.

The meeting was seen as a sign of thawing relations between the two countries after years of tensions and trade disputes.

This is the first visit by an Australian leader to mainland China in seven years, after a period of strained relations that saw Beijing impose restrictions and duties on several Australian exports.

The meeting marks the success of 18 months of diplomatic efforts to restore the relationship.

Chinese President Xi praised Prime Minister Albanese for his role in improving ties since he took office and expressed his desire to foster “harmonious” cooperation for mutual benefit.

He said both sides have been resuming dialogue on various issues and resolving some difficulties.

‘Now the China-Australia relationship has embarked on the right path of improvement and development.’ He added.

The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhao Leji, welcomed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in his first meeting and said the two countries are “at a new starting point”.

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‘China is willing to work with Australia to enhance, sustain and advance our relations, to build mutual trust, increase exchanges, broaden cooperation, and deepen the friendship,’ he said.

‘This will bring more benefits to our two countries and peoples,’ Zhao added.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Australia’s Ambassador to China, Graham Fletcher joined him and also attended his meeting with the Chinese President.

This was the second formal meeting between Albanese and Xi after they met at the G20 in Bali last year.

Albanese highlighted the advantages of expanding trade with Beijing and promoting positive interaction between the two countries.

‘We have different political systems, but my engagement with China and with President Xi has been positive and constructive,’ Albanese said.

Albanese also reaffirmed Australia’s support for keeping the current situation in Taiwan, which Beijing views as a part of China and has not ruled out using force to take it.

The meeting between Albanese and Xi Jinping was widely covered by the media, both in Australia and China, as a landmark event that could reshape the bilateral relationship and the regional dynamics