China's shock message after Albanese win: 'We're ready'

·Associate News Editor
·2-min read

Beijing has officially responded to Anthony Albanese's victory in the Federal Election, appearing to offer an olive branch to Canberra after a torrid two-year period for Sino-Australian relations.

China's Premier Li Keqiang, second to President Xi Jinping, sent his congratulations to Mr Albanese late on Monday.

The welcome reception, after the Morrison government toiled and ultimately failed with its diplomatic efforts with Beijing, points to a significant decision from China to re-welcome dialogue and resurrect relations.

State news agency Xinhua reported Li noted Beijing was ready to "look into the future" and grow its partnership with Australia.

Premier Li Keqiang (right) sat with President Xi Jinping (left) earlier this year. Source: Getty
Premier Li Keqiang (right) sat with President Xi Jinping (left) earlier this year. Source: Getty

Hours earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin welcomed a Labor government, and like Li, pointed to Labor's history in developing relations between the two countries.

"China extends its congratulations," he told reporters.

"China is ready to work with the new Labor government to take stock of the past and stay forward-looking.

"We should follow the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefits to promote sound and steady development of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership."

It comes just hours after Mr Albanese delivered his first message to Beijing, stressing the relationship would continue to struggle after China took a more combative posture.

His response echoed a typically-critical write up from state-run tabloid the Global Times, which on the eve of the election had warned expectations for the relationship should remain low regardless whoever was in government.

But what Mr Albanese vowed to do, which will undoubtedly be music to the ears of Beijing, was to avoid politicising national security and China's threat to the region.

Anthony Albanese delivered a stern message to China hours after being sworn in as prime minister on Monday. Source: Getty
Anthony Albanese delivered a stern message to China hours after being sworn in as prime minister on Monday. Source: Getty

Beijing has been incensed at times with the persistence of the Morrison government, and in particular former defence minister Peter Dutton, to "hype" up the chance of military conflict with China.

The Global Times did not hold back on Sunday, savaging the Morrison government, accusing former prime minister Scott Morrison of overseeing "the most inexplicable phenomenon of international relations in recent years", referring to the fallout with Beijing.

Mr Morrison took a robust stance on China, and repeatedly riled Beijing thanks to his vocal position on matters such as the origins of Covid-19, human rights in Xinjiang and national security laws in Hong Kong.

China deemed such issues internal matters and not for Australia's intervention, while the tightening of laws surrounding foreign investment in Australia only soured the relationship further.

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