Australian prime minister announces China visit hours before leaving for US to meet Biden

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister will visit China in early November, his office said Sunday hours before he was set to fly to the United States to meet .

Albanese’s office also said China agreed to review the crippling tariffs it placed on Australian wine that have effectively blocked trade with the winemakers’ biggest export market since 2020.

Albanese will become the first Australian prime minister to visit China in seven years when he travels to Beijing and Shanghai from Nov. 4-7.

He will meet and Premier Li Qiang in Beijing and then attend the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

The visit to China and a potential breakthrough in the wine dispute mark a further repair in bilateral relations since Albanese’s center-left Labor Party won elections last year after nine years of conservative rule in Australia.

“I look forward to visiting China, an important step towards ensuring a stable and productive relationship,” Albanese said in a statement.

“I welcome the progress we have made to return Australian products, including Australian wine, to the Chinese market. Strong trade benefits both countries,” Albanese added.

Albanese accepted an invitation weeks ago to visit China this year, but finding suitable dates has been challenging.

Albanese is visiting Washington, D.C., to meet Biden this week and will return to the United States after his China trip to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ forum in San Francisco from Nov. 15-17.

It will be the ninth time Biden has met Albanese as prime minister. The first meeting was in Tokyo hours after Albanese was sworn in as government leader in May last year.

The discussions this week are expected to cover the AUKUS deal in which the United States and Britain will cooperate to provide Australia with a fleet of submarines powered by U.S. nuclear technology to counter a more assertive China.

The leaders will also seek more cooperation on clean energy, critical minerals and countering climate change.

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