Australian and Chinese foreign ministers to meet amid frosty relations

Australian and Chinese foreign ministers to meet amid frosty relations

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne will meet her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing today for the Fifth Australia-China Foreign

marise payne wang yi australia china

Photo: Fairfax

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne will meet her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing today for the Fifth Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue.

Relations between the two countries have been strained for some time now. In October, the Australian government blocked Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei from bidding for a role in the nation’s 5G network rollout. A report released by the Australia Strategic Policy Institute last month flared tensions further when it suggested that Chinese military scientists regularly work undercover at Australian universities on high-tech weapons and communications research.

China’s economic growth has made Australia one its most valuable regional trading partners. Due to Australia’s historic friendly relationship with the United States, Canberra has also served an important role in maintaining trade relations between China and the US, but has found itself increasingly allied with the US’ goal of preventing Chinese regional hegemony.

Further deterioration of relations could have a direct impact on Australian businesses at home. For example, the Australian education industry could suffer, as some 170,000 Chinese students attend Australian universities. Restrictions on Chinese students would almost certainly impact the $32.2 billion in education exports Australian universities produce for the economy.

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