Foreign Minister Penny Wong says she remains open to discussions with her Chinese counterparts during upcoming G20 talks.
Senator Wong is set to travel to Bali for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting beginning on Thursday.
While recent years have seen a diplomatic freeze between Australia and China, Senator Wong said she and other cabinet ministers would welcome talks.
“Obviously, these arrangements are very fluid, but that stance of being open to engagement, that willingness to engage remains our position, including at the G20,” she told reporters in Singapore during a joint press conference with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
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“Australian ministers remain open to engage, and that extends to the G20.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles held talks in June with China’s defence minister in Singapore, one of the highest-level discussions between the two countries in three years.
Senator Wong said the new federal government would remain calm and considered in terms of its relationship with China.
“We were upfront that there are obviously challenges in that relationship, it’s a complex and consequential relationship,” she said.
“We believe that both countries have a interest in stabilising the relationship.”
However, the foreign minister indicated Australia still had concerns about trade sanctions imposed by China on Australian products such as meat, wine and coal.
Trade Minister Don Farrell had requested a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of a World Trade Organisation conference in June, but the talks did not eventuate.
However, Senator Farrell said an offer was open to “sit down any time”.
Former foreign minister Bob Carr said to have China remove the tariffs, the Australian side should offer to ease off its anti-dumping actions at the WTO.
“(We should) conduct a review of the anti-dumping actions so that we can present to the Chinese a win-win,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.
Mr Carr, who has met with China’s ambassador to Australia, said the government should also look at ways to extend the existing free trade deal with China, given that Australia already sends 40 per cent of its exports there.