Australia ready to 'sit around table' with China: PM Morrison

Ties between Canberra and Beijing, which became strained in 2018, nosedived in 2020.
Ties between Canberra and Beijing, which became strained in 2018, nosedived in 2020.PHOTO: AFP

CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND (BLOOMBERG) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government wants to restart dialogue with Beijing, as a series of trade reprisals from China strain the already-weakened relationship between the two countries.

"We, of course, would like to see the dialogue that was occurring to continue again and start again," he added at a press conference on Saturday (June 12) at the Group of Seven leaders meeting in Britain, according to a transcript sent by his office.

"Australia is always ready to sit around the table and talk through how our partnership can be made to work."

Ties between Canberra and Beijing, which became strained in 2018, nosedived last year when Mr Morrison's government called for independent investigators to probe the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and criticised Chinese actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

That spilled into trade reprisals, including tariffs of more than 200 per cent on Australian wine for five years since March. Mr Morrison said recently his government is seeking to take World Trade Organisation action to resolve the dispute.

Before the G-7 gathering, he added that he would seek support from other global leaders to counter what he called "economic coercion".

At a meeting with United States President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the summit, Mr Morrison discussed what he called issues of "mutual concern" that included the Indo-Pacific region.