Asia

Albo’s surprise meeting with China


Anthony Albanese could be one step closer to a meeting with Xi Jinping after an informal chat with the Chinese Premier on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Cambodia.

The Prime Minister spoke with Premier Li Keqiang for about four minutes as they took their seats at the summit’s gala dinner on Saturday evening.

It was the first time Mr Albanese and Mr Li had met, and the pair exchanged greetings and spoke briefly through a translator about the 50-year anniversary of modern relationship between Australia and China.

Scott Morrison was the last Australian prime minister to sit down with Mr Li during bilateral talks on the sidelines of the 2019 ASEAN summit in Bangkok.

It comes amid speculation whether the Prime Minister would secure a face-to-face meeting with President Xi after the Chinese President left Mr Albanese off a list of leaders he would be meeting over the next week.

Mr Albanese had expressed hope bilateral talks would be locked in while the pair were attending the G20 in Bali.

“There are no preconditions for a meeting,” he said. “I look forward to having a constructive dialogue if a meeting takes place.”

“I think there is a great deal of goodwill here, certainly from Australia. And I have no reason to think that there‘s not goodwill on the Chinese side as well.”

The last Australian prime minister to meet with the President was Malcolm Turnbull in 2016.

US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez and African Union chair Macky Sall all made the list of leaders President Xi would be holding talks with while in Indonesia.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying added that Xi would meet other world leaders “upon request”.

Speaking with Sky News on Sunday, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said she hoped the Xi-Biden meeting would include a “constructive talks” on climate change.

“We know that China emits about a third of the world‘s greenhouse gases, and so we do need to work in a way that brings these very large emitters into the tent,” she said.

“If China and the US can have constructive talks about climate change, that’s good, that’s good for everybody.”

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