China Issues Rare Invite For Australia's Prime Minister To Visit Beijing

Coming off last year's thawing of tensions between Australia and China when their two leaders met at the G20 in Bali, a rare visit by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Beijing where he'll again meet with President Xi may soon take place. 

On Tuesday it was revealed that China issued an invitation "in principle" for Albanese to come on the 50th anniversary of the first trip to China by an Australian prime minister. Gough Whitlam had visited in October and November of 1973.

China Issues Rare Invite For Australia's Prime Minister To Visit Beijing
Via ABC.net

Previously the South China Morning Post reported that Albanese is "anticipating" a visit, following years of a trade war and ratcheting tensions over closer military cooperation with the United States in the Pacific region. 

While China has of late expressed its outrage over the controversial 'AUKUS' nuclear submarine deal with Washington, both sides have said they remain committed to seeking the betterment of relations. It remains that Beijing has focused most of its vitriol on Washington.

Bloomberg too is confirming the invitation from China, and also details that:

  • The Trip could take place around September and October
  • Beijing has also sent an invitation to Australian trade minister Don Farrell while an exact date has yet to be confirmed, the Post adds, citing a unidentified person close to the Chinese government

There is still some level of internal dissent within the Australian government and establishment pundits over the question of antagonizing China too strongly amid increased military-sharing with the US.

For example, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, who is among the country's most well-known and influential political thinkers, shocked the establishment last month by coming out with a blistering attack on Australia's AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal with the United States and the United Kingdom. He blasted it as the "worst international decision" by a Labor government since the conscription order of World War I. 

He said in a mid-March written statement that the deal is fundamentally about "US strategic hegemony in Asia" and that Australia has now unwisely hitched its wagon to Washington. Keating wrote in the rare critique that "China has committed, in the eyes of the United States, the great sin of internationalism. And what is that sin? To develop an economy as big as the United States."

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