Wang repeats Canberra ‘reset’ call as he wraps up Pacific blitz

His comments follow overtures from China’s Ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, who wrote in: The Australian Financial Review last week that Beijing was ready to talk. Secretary of State Penny Wong also confirmed that she had received “correspondence” from Mr. Wang and would respond in due course.

While Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has written a letter congratulating Anthony Albanese on his election win, Mr Wang is the top Chinese government official to comment directly on the change of government in Australia and what it means for relations between the two countries.

However, there is skepticism about China’s gesture with Mr Xiao saying that China would not lift sanctions on $20 billion of Australian exports and that the detentions of Australian citizens Cheng Lei and Yang Hengjun were individual cases that would not affect diplomatic relations.

China’s ambitions in the Pacific will also remain a major point of tension in relations, even after Mr. Wang failed to negotiate a regional security and economic pact during his meetings with 10 leaders from the Pacific islands during his trip. to close. Several countries complained that Mr. Wang had tried to get a deal through the railways, and that they were not interested in signing a security deal like the one Beijing signed with the Solomon Islands last month.

“Absolutely not, why should we?” Ramos-Horta told Sky News on Sunday.

“We don’t feel threatened by anyone; we have the best possible relationship with the United States, with Indonesia, with Australia and New Zealand and Singapore.”

Mr Wang met East Timor’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and Foreign Minister Adaljiza Magnoon on Friday as they signed agreements on agriculture, digital television and economic and technical cooperation.

East Timor and Papua New Guinea were two important stops at the end of Mr Wang’s visit to the region. However, concerns among opposition politicians competing for leadership roles in next month’s elections in Papua New Guinea suggest there will be opposition to making deals with China other than trade and investment.

According to state media, Wang met 17 Pacific leaders and more than 30 ministerial-level officials, either in face-to-face conversations or via video, during his eight-day tour. Beijing also signed 52 bilateral agreements on the economy, climate change and COVID-19.

China failed to get the majority of Pacific countries to approve its proposed regional security agreement last week. Instead, it released a 15-point position paper that removed the original proposal for joint police training and law enforcement cooperation, but said it still wanted to work with island nations on cybersecurity and “non-traditional security threats.” “.

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