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Chinese PM set to visit Australia for first time in 7 years, what can we expect?

Chinese PM set to visit Australia for first time in 7 years, what can we expect?
Chinese PM set to visit Australia for first time in 7 years, what can we expect?


Chinese Premier Li Qiang has been visiting Australia since June 15 to 18.

It is the first visit to Australia by a Chinese prime minister in seven years and marks a further thaw in once frosty relations between the two countries.

Who is Li Qiang?

The Prime Minister heads the Council of State and is ranked second within the seven-member ruling Politburo. Only President Xi Jinping, head of the Chinese Community Party, is ahead of him.

Just as our head of government (prime minister) and head of state (governor general) are active in international diplomacy, both Li and Xi make international visits.

In recent months, the Prime Minister has attended the G20, World Economic Forum and a trilateral summit with Japan and South Korea. Former Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited Australia in 2017.

An official visit at this level requires the maximum of diplomatic subtleties. Formally, this reflects Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's visit to China late last year.

What will the Prime Minister do?

In Canberra, the focus will be on the elements that are appropriate for a visit by a leader of a major world power (although I suspect nothing we do will topple Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi). Albanian accommodation for a pre-cricket lap of honor in a golden chariot).

There will be a complete welcome ceremony, including a military exhibition and a visit to Governor General David Hurley. This is the protocol and symbolism of any official visit.

On the political level, the Prime Minister will co-chair the ninth Annual China-Australia Leaders Meeting. XI address Parliament in 2014 (followed the next day by Modi echoing the momentous occasion in 2003 when US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered speeches) one day apart).

Xi has commonly visited every Australian state, he joked that he should get a certificate for it after his visit to Tasmania in 2014.

Li will spend time in Adelaide (for visit the pandas and lunch with relieved wine exporters) and Perth (for trade promotion and a visit to the Chinese community) before he continues in Malaysia.

Just as we were accustomed to our Prime Minister bring business delegations When traveling, China views the visit as an opportunity to promote trade and investment ties.

The first will visit a lithium refinery at Kwinana (a joint venture with Chinese company Tianqi Lithium), as well as a Fortescue facility. He will join business leaders at an Australia-China CEO roundtable, hosted by the Business Council of Australia.

This reminds us that, just like in Australia, China's leaders are focused exclusively on improving economic growth.

Former diplomat Jocelyn Chey Remarks that, given his experience in promoting entrepreneurial and business development, Li will likely take a keen interest in the economic potential of greater interaction in industry and commerce.

The last Chinese Prime Minister to visit Australia was Li Keqiang in 2017.
David Gray/AAP

Will there be any major announcements?

Probably not. I expect more protocol and relationship building.

Essentially, the work was done in advance to enable the visit. Australians and Chinese Foreign Ministers meet in Canberra in March, defense ministers met in Singapore earlier this month and Trade Minister Don Farrell has been busy working on trade restrictions, with recent announcements made from barley and wine. (Lobster is about the last industry facing trade barriers.)

To a large extent, the Albanian government has achieved its goal of stabilizing relations. This visit is more about exploring what might be possible in the relationship.

Many will listen carefully to Lis's messages, which may well be subtle. In an opaque political system, statements at the highest levels will be analyzed for clues about policy and direction.

The Chinese are one of the most important audiences for this signal: for example, lower-level officials, import companies, those planning vacations, and parents deciding where their children will study.

Australia hopes the message that it is back on the friendly list continues. The feeling that Australia was not so friendly, even hostile has had a negative impact on many small decisions made by various stakeholders. The fact that Lis daughter studied in Australia could be mentioned.

Continuing Areas of Disagreement

Although those involved in the protocol will always want to reduce controversy, it is inevitable that the Chinese prime minister will face fierce media questions and likely protests, for example from Uyghur protesters, Falun Gong and Hong Kong.

Albanian swore raise issues of concern during Li's visit, in accordance with his often repeated: We will cooperate where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in our national interest.

This will include human rights issues, including the death sentence handed down to Australian citizen Yang Hengjun earlier this year. Albanese will probably mention his concern on Chinese action against Australian personnel in the Yellow Sea to enforce UN sanctions against North Korea, as well as other long-standing points of disagreement between the two countries.

Diplomacy in action

Above all, the Prime Minister's visit will show that China and Australia are capable of maintaining normal diplomatic relations after years of freezer.

It will illustrate the value of diplomacy not as an end in itself but as a means of communicating: asserting one's point of view, attempting to resolve differences and attempting to influence.

In relations between China and Australia, there are many differences. The UTS:ACRI/BIDA survey published this week shows how Australians are wary of China continues to be so. A state visit cannot cover this up.

But compared to the years when Australia had no way to communicate or influence China, the situation is better and more in line with other countries.

As Australia seeks to manage its relationship with China in line with its national interests and support for global rules, diplomacy provides tools to maximize the positives and limit the negatives of an eternally important but difficult relationship.

Correction: This story has been edited to reflect that Li Qiang will not address Parliament during this visit.




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