Meeting with Chairman Zhao Leji

Beijing, People's Republic of China
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister

CHAIRMAN ZHAO LEJI, CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE'S CONGRESS STANDING COMMITTEE: The Honourable Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, it's a great pleasure to meet with you.

On behalf of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, I wish to extend a warm welcome to you.

During your first term, as senator, you visited China twice.

After you took office as Prime Minister, you're dedicated to stabilising and developing China Australia relations. I do appreciate that.

China and Australia are both important countries in the Asia Pacific.

The sound and steady growth of China Australia relations meet the fundamental interests of our two peoples.

It is also conducive to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and beyond.

Over the past year, with our joint efforts, China Australia relations have continued to improve and develop.

Our exchanges in various areas gradually resumed and has shown good momentum of growth.

This has not come easily. And thus we must cherish it all the more.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Prime Minister Whitlam's visit to China. Next year will be the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping's state visit to Australia and the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership of our two countries.

So, now we're at a new starting point.

China is ready to work with Australia to improve and develop our relations.

To enhance mutual trust, strengthen exchanges, expand cooperation, consolidate a friendship, so as to deliver greater benefits to our two countries and peoples.

Now, I wish to hear your views and suggestions, Mr Prime Minister.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much, Chairman Zhao, it is a pleasure to be meeting you here in Beijing today.

I appreciate the warm welcome I’ve received in China.

Allow me to first express my deep condolences at the passing of former Premier Li Keqiang and acknowledge his great contribution to the bilateral relationship between Australia and the People's Republic of China.

My visit is about taking forward our important partnership. Our proximity, our economic complementarities and our close people-to-people ties have brought many benefits to both our countries.

My visit here marks the anniversary of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s first visit from an Australian Prime Minister here to China.

As you have said, This is not my first visit, this is my seventh visit to China. But it is my first as Prime Minister, and I'm very honoured to be here.

The visit of Prime Minister Whitlam carried great significance, it symbolised the potential of the relationship and the beginning of engagement.

That engagement has brought benefits for both of our countries.

And Chairman Zhao, I'm very pleased to be able to be here to convey that directly to you.

I hope we can continue in that positive spirit embodied by Prime Minister Whitlam's visit for the next 50 years and beyond.

There is so much we can do together - including to address shared challenges such as climate change and environmental management.

There will be differences, but these will need to be navigated wisely and with respect.

I believe that we all benefit from the greater understanding that comes from high-level dialogue.

Chairman Zhao, I very much look forward to our discussion today.