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    Two Months after Quad Summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang Scheduled to Visit Australia in July

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    China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, is expected to visit Australia in July, according to the South China Morning Post. Although the visit has not been officially announced, a source close to the Chinese government confirmed it. The visit suggests that tensions between the two countries may be easing, but trade issues remain. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with trade in goods worth $195 billion in 2022, dominated by iron ore exports. Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell is currently meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing to push for the removal of all of China’s trade barriers.

    Diplomatic exchanges between the two countries were frozen in 2020 after China put curbs on a dozen Australian exports in response to an Australian call for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19. However, tension has eased since Australia elected a Labor government in May last year.

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    Qin Gang’s visit is significant as he will be the highest-profile Chinese official to arrive since the bilateral thaw. A reciprocal visit to Australia by Qin Gang for the 2023 Foreign and Strategic Dialogue is part of the restored normal course of bilateral diplomacy. The dialogue is an annual formal meeting between the two nations, whose foreign ministers last met in March on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in New Delhi.

    China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, said in an interview in China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper on Friday that it was a crucial year to stabilise ties. “At present, the operation of global industrial and supply chains is blocked, and trade and investment activities continue to slump,” he said. “China-Australia pragmatic cooperation is not only conducive to the stable economic development of the two countries but also has special significance for China and Australia to cope with global economic challenges.”

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    The office of Australia’s foreign minister, Penny Wong, did not respond to a request for comment.

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