19 December 2022

China breakthrough, Wong to visit Beijing

| Chris Johnson
Join the conversation
Senator Penny Wong

Foreign Minister Penny Wong will visit Beijing this week. Photo: Jamie Kidston/ANU.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong leaves today (20 December) to meet with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing, a visit that is seen as a breakthrough in the bilateral relationship.

With Christmas fast approaching, Australia and China also mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

A meeting to be hosted by the Chinese on Wednesday will be the first time an Australian foreign minister has been received in Beijing since 2018.

READ ALSO PMC social policy dep sec the new boss at Veterans’ Affairs

The two foreign ministers have met twice since Labor won government in May, however, in Bali and New York.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also met recently with Chinese President Xi Jinping while attending the G20 summit in Bali – the first bilateral meeting between each nation’s head of government in six years,

Relations between Australia and China soured dramatically in recent years resulting in numerous trade sanctions imposed on Australian exports.

Tensions became particularly heated during the prime ministership of Scott Morrison.

READ ALSO Operation Christmas Drop 2022 brings the spirit of the season to the remote western Pacific

This week’s meeting, the 6th Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue, is a positive step towards stabilising the relationship with China, Australia’s largest trading partner.

Mr Albanese and Senator Wong issued a statement on Monday marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

“In 1972, then prime minister Gough Whitlam took a bold decision, recognising the importance of engagement and cooperation between our two nations and peoples,” they said.

“In the decades since, China has grown to become one of the world’s largest economies and Australia’s largest trading partner.

“Trade between Australia and China, as well as strong people-to-people, cultural and business links, have delivered significant benefits to both our countries.

“Australia seeks a stable relationship with China. We will cooperate where we can, disagree where we must and engage in the national interest.”

READ ALSO Davis says APS must value their stewardship: ‘Public service without purpose is bureaucracy’

Shadow foreign minister Simon Birmingham said the test of the visit will be in its outcome.

“Minister Wong’s visit will be judged on progress towards the removal of unwarranted tariffs and sanctions on Australian exports; achieving fair and transparent treatment of Australians currently detained in China; advancing regional security via respect for international law; and securing greater transparency on human rights issues of concern,” he said.

Senator Wong is expected to discuss the welfare of Australian journalist Cheng Lei and Australian writer Yang Hengjun, both of whom are currently detained in China.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

We should have closed the borders with China while she was there. Covid is out of control in China and a temporary close is a must.

Penny Wong thinks she has gravitas, but in reality she is a minnow. Fortunately for her she is no Kevin Rudd, who broadcast his diplomatic credentials by calling the Chinese that certain derogatory term at the COP carperbaggers meeting in Copenhagen

HiddenDragon9:06 pm 20 Dec 22

It’s about this, and the opportunity for the CCP to game, subvert and corrupt yet another international grouping –


Capital Retro3:37 pm 20 Dec 22

This is only about “establishing a dialogue”.

This means that Australia and China can hold official talks but only agree to disagree.

Only a matter of time before we saw this government shilling for the CCP!

Are you serious? Good grief.

I agree Sam. I assume Senator Wong is already learning how to say “Lovely to see you again, Comrade” in Mandarin…

Gary Stuart – she doesn’t have to relearn, when she used the term on a daily basis

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.