Chinese Premier Li Qiang will visit Australia this week

Anthony Albanese has confirmed Australia’s worst-kept diplomatic secret and officially announced that Chinese Premier Li Qiang will visit the country this week – and his first stop will be a visit to Adelaide Zoo.

News.com.au has confirmed he will arrive in Adelaide on Saturday night before visiting the zoo and meeting with wine exporters on Sunday.

Giant pandas Fu Ni and Wang Wang are both at the South Australian Zoo and have been on loan from China since 2009 under a contract due to expire later this year.

Premier Li is expected to extend that deal, and there are also hopes that China will lift its ban on lobster exports as a result of his trip.

However, it is possible that Fu Ni and Wang Wang will be replaced by another pair of breeding pandas, which was first reported after a meeting between Foreign Minister Penny Wong and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in March.

China has historically been by far the largest market for Australian lobster – more than 90 per cent of lobsters were shipped there before China banned exports in 2020 over contamination fears.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed the visit at a press conference in Parliament at 4pm on Tuesday and confirmed his top priorities for the visit.

“I would certainly like to see all barriers removed for our lobsters and crabs, our wonderful seafood,” he said.

“Australia has an interest in trading with China, China has an interest in receiving our magnificent goods because of the quality. So that’s a win-win.”

Mr Albanese was also asked about what Australia was working towards on TikTok, including its possible ban.

“Are our intelligences the same, and if so, why aren’t we on the same path, and if not, why not?” they asked him.

“I am surprised that you asked me to reveal at a press conference what our intelligence should be,” Mr. Albanese replied.

In a statement, the Prime Minister said he would welcome Premier Li Qiang of the People’s Republic of China to Australia as a guest of the Government from Saturday 15 June to Tuesday 18 June 2024.

The Premier and Premier Li will hold their annual Leaders’ Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, where they will exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues.

“Premier Li Qiang’s visit to Australia is an important opportunity for direct engagement on key issues for both our nations,” Mr Albanese said.

“China is Australia’s largest trading partner and our economic relationship continues to bring significant benefits to both countries.

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

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

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

In March 2023, Premier Li Qiang became the eighth Premier of the People’s Republic of China, chosen by Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping.

His visit will be the first time since 2017 that a Chinese leader of his stature has visited Australia.

Premier Li Qiang will also attend a lunch with wine exporters, accompanied by the largest Chinese business delegation China has taken to Australia in nearly a decade.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Trade Minister Don Farrell and Agriculture Minister Murray Watt will attend the lunch with wine exporters.

After lunch, he will fly to Canberra with a visit to Parliament on Monday, where the leader will hold talks with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese before heading to Perth.

The Business Council of Australia will host a CEO roundtable in Perth, attended by senior representatives from the mining industry, banks and agricultural exporters.

The visit followed the prime minister’s state visit to Beijing in November for talks with Xi Jinping and Mr Li, who called for more favorable treatment of Chinese investment offers.

The Prime Minister confirmed the visit on Tuesday at 4 p.m., after talking to journalists about his arrival on Monday.

“The possible visit of the Chinese premier will be confirmed in the usual way,” he said on Monday.

“They are – confirm with statements released simultaneously in Canberra and Beijing. This will happen.

“I certainly said I welcome working with China again. This is a good thing. We want to cooperate where we can, we will disagree where we have to, but we will engage in the national interest.

“And we have an annual bilateral meeting of leaders. I had it in Beijing last year. It’s supposed to be held here in Canberra this year.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced that Chinese Premier Li Qiang will visit the country on Monday.

This will be the first trip by a Chinese premier to New Zealand since Li Keqiang’s visit in 2017.

More to come

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