BEIJING/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Wednesday, following messages between the countries’ leaders as the trading partners sought to stabilize their frosty diplomatic ties.

FILE PHOTO: Printed Chinese and Australian flags can be seen in this July 21, 2022 illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvik/Illustration

Relations between Australia and its major trading partner China had deteriorated in recent years, with Beijing banning Australian exports after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos released by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade showed Wong and a small delegation of officials meeting Wang at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

“We can develop our bilateral relations and maintain both our national interests if both countries resolve our differences sensibly,” he said at the beginning of the meeting.

They said they would discuss consular matters, trade barriers, human rights and global rules and norms that underpin security and prosperity.

The meeting followed a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping sent to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese earlier in the day, saying China would work to foster a comprehensive strategic partnership, state media reported.

Before meeting Wang, Wong addressed staff at the Australian embassy over a video link from Diaoyutai, where she will stay for the duration of the overnight visit as part of a so-called “closed loop” system that will allow her to travel between China and China. And will separate their crew. Covid 19 Outbreak.

According to CCTV, Albanese thanked Xi for his telegram marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, in which he said, “I attach great importance to the development of China-Australia relations and look forward to working with the Australian side.” I’m ready.”

“It is important that we deliver better relations with our major trading partners in the future,” Albanese told a news conference in Sydney.

The rapprochement between Australia and China ends years of frozen relations. Wong’s visit is the first by an Australian minister since 2019 and the first formal talks in Beijing since 2018.

Besides calling for an inquiry into the origins of COVID, Beijing was also angered by the previous Liberal government in Canberra effectively banning Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from Australia’s 5G networks.

A meeting between Albéniz and Xi on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali last month signaled a softening of ties, although China’s trade sanctions remain in place.

Wong’s meeting with Wang took place as part of the 6th Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue.

Reporting by the Beijing newsroom; Additional reporting by Kirsty Needham and Louise Jackson in Sydney; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Michael Perry and Christian Schmollinger

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