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Chinese Premier Li Qiang announced as government guest for Australian tour

Fighter jets attached to an aviation brigade of the PLA Air Force taxi on the runway during a flight training exercise on 29 May 2024. Photo: Ministry of National Defense/Wang Fengqiang

Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Qiang, has been announced as a Guest of Government while he tours Australia this month.

Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Li Qiang, has been announced as a Guest of Government while he tours Australia this month.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced a welcoming to Australia for the PRC Premier as he visits the country from 15 to 18 June.

This will be the first visit to Australia by a Chinese premier since 2017. Prime Minister Albanese and Premier Li will hold the Annual Leaders’ Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, where they will exchange views on bilateral, regional, and international issues.


Prime Minister Albanese, speaking during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on 11 June, said both nations are aware of the recent confrontations between the People’s Liberation Army and Australian Defence Force personnel in the South China Sea.

“On the former (interactions in the South China Sea), the message will be that they were inappropriate,” he said.

“And he, of course, will be very aware of Australia’s position, which is that Australia was engaged in legitimate international activity and that that should never have occurred because it was dangerous and it shouldn’t have happened and it should not happen again.

“(Regarding the PRC’s interactions with) Taiwan. Our position is to support the status quo when it comes to Taiwan. That is in the international community’s interests for that to occur.”

Premier Li will also travel to Adelaide and Perth. The leaders will engage with Australian and Chinese business leaders at the seventh Australia-China CEO Roundtable.

During the visit, the leaders will also attend a community event to acknowledge the deep contribution of the more than 1 million members of the Chinese-Australian community to our nation’s multicultural success story.

Premier Li’s visit to Australia follows Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to Beijing in November last year, where leaders agreed to resume key bilateral dialogues and to further a number of areas of cooperation.

Prime Minister Albanese said the visit is an important opportunity to engage directly on key issues for both nations.

“China is Australia’s largest trading partner and our economic relationship continues to bring substantial benefits to both our countries,” he said.

“Welcoming the Chinese Premier to our shores is an opportunity for Australia to advance our interests by demonstrating our national values, our people’s qualities, and our economy’s strengths.

“Australia continues to pursue a stable and direct relationship with China, with dialogue at its core.

“We will cooperate where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in our national interest.”

In a public statement released on 12 June, Prime Minister Albanese advocated for working productively with China to benefit everyone in the region.

“From our first day in office, our government has made it a priority to invest in Australia’s capabilities and invest in our relationships: our national defence and our international diplomacy,” he said.

“We are strengthening both because we know a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific is essential to the security and prosperity of every Australian.

“As part of this important work, next week, Australia will be hosting an official visit from Premier Li Qiang of China.

“This is the first visit by a Chinese premier to Australia since 2017, signalling another step forward in the patient, calibrated, and deliberate efforts of our government to rebuild dialogue with China and stabilise the relationship between our nations.

“Australia’s approach has been consistent and clear: cooperate with China where we can, disagree where we must, and engage in our national interest.

“Welcoming the Chinese Premier to our shores is an opportunity to advance our interests by demonstrating our national values, our people’s qualities, and our economy’s strengths.

“While in our country, Premier Li will visit Parliament House in Canberra, the seat of our free and robust democracy.

“We will both participate in a CEO roundtable in Perth, reflecting the breadth of our business ties with China, and recognising the progress we have made on trade.

“When we came to government, trade impediments imposed by China on Australia were costing our exporters over $20 billion per year. Today, our farmers, growers, miners, and exporters are benefiting from being able to sell their cotton, copper, coal, timber logs, oaten hay, barley, and wine to China again.

“Equally, the people of China are benefiting from high-quality Australian exports, which is why I’m hopeful we will see further progress for our shellfish exporters.

“All of this matters. Trade supports one in four Australian jobs, it underpins one in every $3 of our economic output and China is far and away our largest trading partner.

“Australian resources have played a pivotal role in China’s extraordinary economic transformation and the growth of our entire region.

“Our government’s plan for a future made in Australia will build on this success by catering to growing global demand for the critical minerals and rare earths essential to reach net zero.

“The fact that 92 per cent of the global economy is committed to net zero presents a profound opportunity for Australia: a chance for us to make more things here, to create secure, high-paying jobs in processing, refining, and manufacturing.

“As more nations draw an explicit link between their economic security and their national security, we will ensure Australia’s foreign investment framework is more efficient and transparent and more effective at managing risk.

“In all this, our vision for a future made in Australia is about building on our strengths, engaging in our region, and succeeding on our terms.

“Something else Premier Li will experience is our multicultural society, including more than 1 million members of the Chinese-Australian community whose hard work and aspiration has made a profound contribution to our nation.

“Our government has worked to bring this diverse combination of Australian strengths to our dealings with China, so that we always engage with China as ourselves, in the service of our national interest and in the spirit of our Australian values.

“Australia’s commitment to peace helped establish the international rules-based order and we continue to advocate for an Indo-Pacific where sovereignty is respected, human rights are upheld, prosperity is driven by shared opportunity, and stability is secured through collective responsibility.

“As an outward-looking economy, we champion the benefits of trade and investment.

“As a loyal member of the Pacific family, we support the sovereign right of every country, big and small, to choose its own destiny and secure its own future.

“As a steadfast ally of the United States, we build on our rich history and draw on our shared ideals.

“And as a nation enriched by people of every faith, background and tradition, Australia’s connections with China and the world are stronger because of our diaspora communities.

“Through two years of engaging in Australia’s national interest, our government has never sought stabilisation for its own sake or at any price.

“We have been upfront: China and Australia are two very different nations, with different systems of government and different ways of looking at the world.

“Points of contention are inevitable, what matters is how you manage them.

“I take the view that whatever our differences might be, it is always better when we can deal with each other directly, through dialogue.

“This is how we firmly and calmly call-out unacceptable risks to Australian naval personnel on duty in international waters, as well as making clear Australia’s resolute position on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and our unwavering support for the territorial integrity of our neighbours.

“This is not always a smooth process, or a swift one but while issuing threats and delivering ultimatums may be the easy road, it never takes you very far.

“In a world of increasing complexity, the true measure of foreign policy strength is the ability to effectively manage differences, not manufacture confrontations.

“That’s why as well as reminding ourselves of the benefits we have been able to secure through dialogue, we must always remember the potentially devastating cost of the alternative.

“Australia, China and every nation in our region has a role to play in upholding the rules based-order, respecting our neighbours’ sovereignty and maintaining the stability of the Indo-Pacific. What’s more, we all have much to gain from it.

“In this spirit, our government will continue to use dialogue to advance Australia’s interests, articulate our values, and build a more prosperous and secure future for all who call the Indo-Pacific home.”

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