VOI, Jakarta - President Xi Jinping said on Monday stable ties between China and Australia served each other's interests and both should expand their cooperation, sending a clear signal that Beijing was ready to move on from recent tensions.
China and Australia should promote the development of their strategic partnership as they build up mutual understanding and trust, Xi told Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the first Australian leader to visit Beijing since 2016, at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of the Chinese capital.
A strong relationship "will be beneficial into the future," Albanese told Xi in their second face-to-face talks in a year, a meeting that lasted more than an hour.
For decades, China and Australia built a relationship on trade, with Beijing becoming Canberra's biggest commercial partner with purchases of Australian food and natural resources.
But ties soured after Australia in 2017 accused China of meddling in its politics. The following year, Australia banned equipment from Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (HWT.UL) for its 5G network out of national security fears.
An Australian call in 2020 for an international inquiry into the origin of the COVID pandemic, which emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, infuriated Beijing, which responded with blocks on various Australian imports.
As relations deteriorated, China warned its students against studying in Australia, citing racist incidents, threatening a multi-billion-dollar education market.
Earlier on Monday, Albanese stopped by Beijing's iconic Temple of Heaven and posed for a photograph at the circular Echo Wall where Australia's then prime minister, Gough Whitlam, stood in 1973, a year after the two countries established ties. (Reuters)