PM lauds 'revitalised' China relationship after meeting with premier

pm lauds 'revitalised' china relationship after meeting with premier

PM urged to press Chinese Premier for release of jailed writer

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Australia's relationship with China has been "renewed and revitalised" following a meeting with Premier Li Qiang in which the fate of detained pro-democracy writer Yang Hengjun was discussed.

China's second-highest-ranking politician met with Albanese for the annual leaders' meeting in Canberra today, with five memorandums of understanding signed between the two nations covering trade, education, the economy, climate change and cultural exchanges.

The family of jailed Chinese-Australian writer Yang, who was handed a suspended death sentence earlier this year, had earlier called on Albanese to demand the pro-democracy advocate be released during his meeting with Li.

Albanese said he had raised the issue with the Chinese premier, along with a raft of other disagreements, including foreign interference.

"I certainly raised our issues in the Pacific as well as other issues including human rights, Dr Yang's case, as well as the Australians who are on death row," he said.

"We of course in Australia oppose capital punishment and I reiterated our position there."

He said Li and the rest of the Chinese delegation's response to Australia's concerns varied depending on the topic.

"On some issues, there's immediate agreement, on some issues there is not," Albanese said.

"We have differences of opinion but it's important that we be able to express those, that we're able to be constructive about it."

Speaking after the five MoUs were signed, the prime minister said dialogue was crucial for Australia's relationship with China.

"It is always most effective when we deal directly with each other," Albanese said.

"That's how we make progress on our shared interests and protect regional stability.

"Without dialogue, we can't address any of the differences that arise between us.

"Australia and China have renewed and revitalised our engagement... (including) a framework for us to work together to tackle climate change."

Li said his meeting with Albanese was "candid, in-depth and fruitful".

"In less than one year, Prime Minister Albanese and I have met multiple times and exchanged visits to each other's country," he said.

"This shows that our countries attach great importance to our relationship, and that this relationship is on the right track of steady improvement and development."

Without mentioning Yang in his remarks, the Chinese premier said they "had a candid exchange of views on some differences and disagreements, and agreed to properly manage them in a manner befitting our comprehensive strategic partnership".

Outside Parliament House, pro-China supporters had clashed with protesters demonstrating against the Asian superpower's human rights record ahead of the meeting.

Police at the scene separated the two groups and put up barricades to keep them apart.

Albanese and Li will now travel to Perth for the final day of the Chinese premier's state visit.

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