蘑菇影院

Chinese premier to visit New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia

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MELBOURNE, Australia (蘑菇影院) 鈥 Chinese Premier Li Qiang will visit New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia starting Thursday, officials said.

Li will visit the three countries from June 13 to 20, a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said Tuesday.

Australia earlier announced that Li would land in the Australian city of Adelaide on June 15 and leave Perth on June 18.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Li are to hold an annual leaders鈥 meeting at Parliament House in the Australian capital, Canberra, during the visit.

The New Zealand and Malaysian governments have yet to announce Li鈥檚 itinerary in their countries.

Li鈥檚 visit to Australia and New Zealand will be the first by a Chinese premier, the second most powerful official in China鈥檚 leadership, in seven years. A Chinese premier hasn鈥檛 visited Malaysia since 2015.

Li鈥檚 Australian trip follows a visit by Albanese to Beijing last November, when leaders agreed to resume key bilateral dialogues and further several areas of cooperation.

China imposed a series of official and unofficial trade barriers that cost Australian exporters up to 20 billion Australian dollars ($13 billion) a year after Australia鈥檚 previous government urged an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of those barriers have been removed since Albanese鈥檚 government was elected in 2022.

Albanese said he would push for barriers to Australian lobster to be lifted and for imprisoned Australian democracy blogger Yang Hengjuno to be freed.

鈥淧remier Li Qiang鈥檚 visit to Australia is an important opportunity to engage directly on key issues for both our nations,鈥 Albanese said.

鈥淎ustralia continues to pursue a stable and direct relationship with China, with dialogue at its core,鈥 he said.

New Zealand officials say their discussions with Li will focus on their aim to double the value of the nation鈥檚 exports to China in a decade.

New Zealand has traditionally sought to balance its trade relationship with China with the interests of its Western allies in the Five Eyes intelligence sharing partnership, who have more assertively decried China鈥檚 growing influence in the region. Malaysia has similarly resisted taking sides in the U.S.-China rivalry.

Australia has more vocally sided with its most important security ally, the United States, in challenging China鈥檚 expanding influence.

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Associated Pess writer Charlotte Graham-McLay in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.