Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet in-person on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit on Tuesday, the first such talks between leaders of the two countries since 2019 that is likely to touch on trade.
Albanese announced the long-anticipated summit at a press conference after touching down in Indonesia on Monday afternoon for the G20, saying he was “looking forward to a constructive meeting”.
The meeting is set to come a day after United States President Joe Biden holds a lengthy discussion with Xi at the G20 on Monday for their first talks as leaders of their respective countries.
Relations between Australia and China have rapidly deteriorated in recent years.
Following a call by former prime minister Scott Morrison for an international investigation into the origins of Covid-19 in April 2020, the Chinese government imposed trade sanctions on a number of Australian exports ranging from wine to barley.
The leaders of the two nations have not met in person since an informal talk between Morrison and Xi on the sidelines of the G20 in 2019.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he wanted to see more “stable” relations between Australia and China going forward.
Albanese held a brief discussion with outgoing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of ASEAN over the weekend, where Li said Beijing was prepared to meet the Australian leader “half-way”.
December will mark 50 years since the beginning of diplomatic relations between China and Australia.
Trade Minister Don Farrell said Canberra was willing to negotiate a compromise with Beijing to avoid arbitration by the World Trade Organisation.
However, no matter how much trade with China returns, Farrell said it was unlikely Australian businesses would allow themselves to heavily rely on a single trade partner again.