Australian foreign minister Penny Wong said on Tuesday that she will push China to lift trade sanctions during her trip to Beijing. Ms Wong is also expected to request consular access to two detained Australians during the visit, which is seen as a step in repairing strained diplomatic ties between Beijing and Canberra.
However, during a media briefing in the Australian capital, Ms Wong attempted to dampen expectations of an immediate breakthrough.
She said: “Many of the hard issues in the relationship will take time to resolve in our interests.
“This will take time, but I do see this visit as another step in the road.”
Ms Wong is set to meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Wednesday in what will be the first visit by an Australian minister since 2019.
It also marks the first formal talks in Beijing between diplomats from the two nations since 2018.
Relations between the two countries soured in 2018 after Australia banned Huawei Technologies from its 5G broadband network.
Beijing was also irritated by Canberra when the Australian Government called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
The AUKUS defence agreement with London and Washington, along with the Australian decision to buy nuclear-powered submarines, are also potential sources of tension.
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Ms Wong will also attend the sixth Australia–China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue in Beijing.
This will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and China.