China’s new ambassador to Australia has called for the two countries to repair more than four years of strained relations, describing his role as a “noble mission” amid a diplomatic freeze between Beijing and Canberra.
Xiao Qian, China’s new envoy to Australia, said in his Canberra visit that the two countries’ relations were at a “critical juncture”.
Current China-Australia ties are “facing many difficulties and challenges” amid “enormous opportunities and potentials”, Xiao said in a statement, adding that he looks forward to help push the relationship “back to the right track”.
“I look forward to working with the Australian government and friends in all sectors to increase engagement and communication,” the statement read.
“The Chinese Embassy in Australia will continue to provide good services and supports to the overseas Chinese community, Chinese-funded institutions, Chinese students and all Chinese citizens in Australia.”
Bilateral ties between Beijing and Canberra have soured since 2017 when former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull passed laws that sought to rid of “foreign influence”, which were widely seen as targeted against China.
In 2020, Beijing blocked imports from its largest trading partner after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation on COVID-19’s Chinese origins.
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