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Australia, China Seek To Improve Military Communication


Australia and China are taking steps to enhance military communication to prevent incidents, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced after meeting Chinese Premier Li Qiang. It’s the first high level Chinese visit visit marks to Australia in seven years.

Stabilising Relations

Li’s visit signifies a stabilisation of relations between the US ally and the world’s second-largest economy. The relationship had soured with Beijing blocking $20 billion in Australian exports and tensions over defence encounters.

“One of the very practical measures that we spoke about was improving military-to-military communication so as to avoid incidents,” Albanese said after the meeting, which included Defence Minister Richard Marles. Last month, a Chinese air force jet dropped flares near an Australian defence helicopter in the international waters of the Yellow Sea, which Australia deemed a dangerous encounter. This was the second such incident in six months, highlighting the need for better communication.

Diplomatic Discussions

Albanese addressed several issues during the meeting, including concerns over Beijing’s ambitions in the Pacific Islands, human rights and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He also raised the case of China-born Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who faces a suspended death sentence in China.

The two leaders discussed enhancing cooperation in energy and mining, with China set to include Australia in its visa waiver programme. Albanese emphasised the importance of candid dialogue, noting that while Australia and China have shared interests, there are also significant differences that require open communication.

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Public Reaction And Economic Ties

Protesters and supporters gathered outside parliament in Canberra during Li’s ceremonial welcome. Tibetan, Uyghur, Hong Kong and Falun Gong protesters were separated from pro-China supporters by barricades.

Trade between Australia and China reached A$327 billion ($216 billion) last year as Beijing’s trade blocks eased. Australia is a major supplier of iron ore to China, which has also invested in Australian mining projects. The visit raises questions about future Chinese investment in Australia’s critical minerals sector, especially as Western allies push to reduce reliance on China for rare earths vital to electric vehicles.

“We have considerable interests between our mining sector and China,” Albanese said after the meeting, underscoring the economic importance of their relationship.

With Inputs from Reuters