Australia and China start summit after years of strained relations

Australia and China have recently hosted their first official summit in more than five years in an effort to resolve hostility that impeded trade relations and halted top-level meetings.

According to credible sources, Canberra has tried to keep its hopes low that the meeting will improve ties; rather, it portrayed that the face-to-face talk was a win.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, Australian Prime Minister Albanese expressed the pleasure to be a part of a meeting with President Xi Jinping.

It is imperative to note that Chinese and Australian leaders briefly interacted during the G20 conference in Japan in 2019. However, the leaders of these countries have not had an official meeting in more than five years.

China has been displeased by Australia's alacrity to enact laws against foreign influence activities, prohibit Huawei from 5G deals, and demand independent research into the causes of the coronavirus outbreak.

Furthermore, Beijing has imposed strict penalties on Australian exports recently, halted ministerial discussions, and pushed ties into the worst crisis since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

As per official reports, China's sanctions have been imposed on various Australian exports, including infant formula, coal, wine, meat, and barley.

Albanese emphasized that Australia would maintain its values even though he appreciated the opportunity to speak.

Additionally, the two nations have competed for influence in the South Pacific. China has invested heavily and tried to increase its influence in small but vitally important island states.

According to sources, the US and Australia believe that China is aiming to build a military base in the South Pacific, upending the military balance in that area.

Australia recently panicked at the news that China had signed a covert security agreement with the Solomon Islands that sanctioned the formation of Chinese security troops.

Manasseh Sogavare, the Prime Minister of Solomon Island stated last month that he would not permit the presence of a foreign military installation.

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