SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Saturday it was premature to discuss possible trips to China, days after meeting President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.
“What we’ve had this week are the first steps and I’m not getting ahead of myself,” Albanese told a news conference at the APEC summit in Bangkok.
Australia has clashed with China – its biggest trading partner – over trade disputes and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently elected Labor government has sought to mend strained diplomatic relations.
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“We will continue to…take steps forward together,” he said after reporters sought his comments on his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, who received an invitation to travel to Beijing after their meeting. with Xi Jinping on Friday.
The New Zealand government said in a statement that the two leaders had confirmed that a visit by Ardern to China “would take place at a mutually acceptable time”.
Albanese also said Australia’s position has not changed on Taiwan’s efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP. He said all applications would be dealt with on their merits.
The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.