Today, Anthony Albanese will meet with China’s Xi Jinping. Here’s what they are likely to be talking about

the main points
  • Anthony Albanese and Xi Jinping will meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.
  • Trade, the detention of Cheng Lei and Yang Hengjun, and the treatment of the Uyghurs can be discussed.
  • Experts say the talks are important and could pave the way for more meetings.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed it would take place In Indonesia, where experts suggest there will be a variety of topics on the table – some more thorny than others.
The summit, which will be held on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Tuesday, will be the first one-on-one meeting between the leaders of the two countries since 2016.

Diplomatic relations between Australia and China have had a bumpy road since then.

Among other things, China has imposed trade sanctions on some Australian imports and responded angrily to Australia’s call for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Australia was under pressure because of the Chinese security agreement with the Solomon Islands, the imprisonment of Australians Zhang Li and Heng Jun Yang, and the Australians. .
The diplomatic freeze has begun to thaw in recent months, with Secretary of State Penny Wong meeting with her Chinese counterpart on two occasions.
On Monday, Albanese said he was looking forward to the talks, describing them as “constructive.”

“We are entering this discussion in good faith. There are no preconditions for this discussion,” he said upon his arrival in Bali for the G20 summit. Australia will put forward our position.”

Experts say formal conversations are important.
“Any resumption of normal dialogue between leaders, given that China is a major power in the region we share and our largest trading partner, is good news,” Philip Ivanov, chief executive of Asia Society Australia, told SBS News.
“While Australia wants to de-stress the relationship, I think for President Xi, he will probably seek to stabilize the relationship with Australia.”

Here’s what is likely to be discussed.

Trade sanctions

Albanese and Senator Wong made it clear that the $20 billion in Chinese trade sanctions on many Australian commodities, including coal, barley, beef and wine, must be lifted if relations are to move forward.
The lifting of trade sanctions “should be the first step in restoring working relations between the two governments,” Professor David Goodman, director of the University of Sydney’s Center for Chinese Studies, told SBS News.

“They want good business relations with us. Our exports to them at the moment like coal are costing them more than they want and they are not happy about that. If they lift the sanctions, the trade is direct,” he said.

Dr. Jennifer Hsu, a research fellow and expert on China at the Lowy Institute, said the trade agreement would be “a sign of good faith.”

“I think trade is going to be the lowest hanging fruit for both parties to deal with in any kind of constructive way. And hopefully it’s the beginning of rebuilding that trust between Australia and China,” she said.

Cheng Li and Yang Hengjun

Thornier’s problems to be resolved may be access to the Australians Cheng Li and Yang Hengjun, both of whom are being held in China, or at least to see the charges against them.
journalist with Australian citizenship, was not allowed to contact her family, including her two children.
Australian writer Accused of espionage, without clarifying the charges he faces.

Chinese-born Australian Cheng Lei has been detained in China since August 2020. attributed to him: Vaughn Ridley/Sportsfile Web Summit via Ge

Human Rights Watch told SBS News in August that the Albanian government “must make it clear that the release of these arbitrarily detained Australians is critical to restoring relations with Beijing”.

China experts agree, but Ivanov said Australians should not get their hopes up on Tuesday.

“Any kind of specific response from China to that is very unlikely,” he said.

Human rights issues

Australia and other Western countries have been outspoken in condemning China’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uyghur minorities in Xinjiang, which China has always denied.
in Senator Wong pledged that Australia would continue to stand firm on these issues.

“I have made it clear that we will speak out as necessary on issues that matter to Australians, including human rights and upholding the international rules that we have all agreed on,” she said.

Ivanov said China might ask Australia to stop interfering.
“But that would be very difficult for Australia to agree to,” he said.
Professor Goodman added that China may also be seeking more respect from Australia.
“They might say, let’s get less publicity from you about the Chinese threat,” he said.

“But I don’t know how the Albanians can achieve this.”

Climate change

Both Australia and China are the largest carbon emitters, but the Asian superpower is trying to show global leadership in this field, with Prime Minister Xi pledging to generate 80 percent of his country’s energy from non-fossil sources by 2060.
This is a more ambitious target than Australia, and if China succeeds in achieving it, it will be the fastest reduction in emissions among the major economies.
Professor Goodman said Mr. Shi could push Mr. Albanese to take a tougher line on climate change.

“China is pushing developing countries to go into renewable energy. They are pioneers in some aspects of renewable energy, and it’s a big export market for them,” he said.

Regional and international security

With China seeking hegemony in the Asia-Pacific, tensions with Australia rose The two countries are likely to discuss their visions for the region, Mr. Ivanov said.
“International security disputes will certainly arise. Australia does not want to see Chinese military or paramilitary activity in the Pacific region because we believe that would destabilize the region and put our Pacific neighbors in a very difficult situation,” he said.

“I think the Solomon Islands will certainly be one of the points of discussion.”

Dr Hsu said the couple could discuss “tri- and triple-Australia-China-Pacific relations on development issues”, although she admitted that might be “far-fetched”.

“But finding ways to cooperate and collaborate are the areas where this relationship can progress,” she added.

He plans to meet again

Ivanov says that while “we shouldn’t have high hopes for tomorrow,” the fact that two leaders are talking at all is “a good thing.”
He added that what would be better is if they decided to organize another meeting.
“We are sure that our officials and Prime Minister Albanese will seek some assurances from China that the dialogue at the ministerial level will resume and will be more regular. The signs are very positive that China may agree to this,” Ivanov said. .

“Hopefully, this will be the new normal.”

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