A second Australian minister will travel to China in a sign diplomatic tensions between the two nations continue to thaw.
Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres will jet off to the Bo’ao Forum for Asia annual conference on Monday.
In a statement ahead of his trip, Mr Ayres described the forum as an important step in establishing relations with Beijing.
“The Bo’ao Forum provides a platform for high level dialogue … to discuss regional economic and trade issues,” he said.
“China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and the Albanese Government continues to advocate for the timely and full resumption of trade to China, which is in the interests of both countries.”
It will be the first time a minister has participated in the forum since 2016.
Relations between Canberra and Beijing have been in a diplomatic deep freeze since the then-Turnbull government blocked Huawei from its 5G rollout.
The federal government is hopeful an improvement in relations could lead to the unwinding of China’s sanctions on beef, wine, lobster and barley.
Mr Ayres will be just the second minister after Foreign Minister Penny Wong to visit China since the beginning of the pandemic.
On Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed he will also be travelling to China for his own trade mission.
It’s understood the two visits are independent of each other.
The Bo’ao Forum was founded by 26 countries including Australia in 2001, to host high-level talks about economics, co-operation, development and issues within the region.
While at the forum, Mr Ayres will also tout Australia’s commitment to clean energy.
“Australia, with an abundance of natural resources required to generate renewable energy, is well-positioned to seize the economic and jobs opportunities presented by the global clean energy transformation,” he said.
“I look forward to engaging with senior business and government figures as we work towards maximising the opportunities in the fastest growing region in human history.”
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