The Straits Times says

China, Australia fix strained relationship

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With weeks to go before China and Australia celebrate the 50th anniversary of formal bilateral relations, it is fitting that a solid step to put that relationship back on track has been taken with the meeting in Bali between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 gathering. Ties, which began to strain as the Western alliance which Australia is a part of pushed back against perceived Chinese assertiveness, worsened after the previous government of Mr Scott Morrison, facing its first recession in decades because of the Covid-19 outbreak, called for an international investigation into the origin of the pandemic.

An infuriated Beijing responded with what looked like severe non-tariff measures against Australian exports of barley, wine and seafood, leading Canberra to scout for new markets – with fair success, as it turns out. Now, with both leaders affirming that their economies are highly complementary, it is time to move on. A 32-minute meeting, especially when translation is required, may not be unduly long, but the tidings are positive enough for officials down the line to follow through. Beijing’s statement after the talks noted that there were “no fundamental conflicting interests” between China and Australia. Canberra must be relieved. Bilateral trade with China exceeds that with the United States, Japan and South Korea combined.

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