Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has thrown his weight behind his state counterparts visiting China, declaring he’d also jet off to Beijing should he be invited.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed she would be following in the footsteps of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and will make a trip to China later this year.
Their West Australian counterpart is also slated to depart for a five-day trip to China on April 17.
Asked about the overseas travel while touring a South Australian shipyard that will one day be home to the AUKUS submarine build, Mr Albanese said it was “good” to keep dialogue open.
“China is our major trading partner. I say that we will co-operate with China where we can, we will disagree where we must, and engage in our national interests,” the Prime Minister told reporters.
“I have said I would accept an invitation were it to be given by President Xi Jinping.”
Mr Albanese met with President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit last year.
Since then, Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Assistant Trade Minister Tim Ayres have met with leaders in China as tensions continue to thaw.
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.
The Victorian Premier’s most recent trip attracted criticism and questions about transparency after details of his plans were not made public until just days before.
No members of the media or business delegates were invited to travel with Mr Andrews.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said on Monday he had no plans to visit China, saying his government was squarely focused on domestic issues.
“We‘ve got a lot of issues in NSW at the moment. And obviously with the new government in place, we want to hit the ground running,” Mr Minns said.
“But it‘s mainly domestically focused at the moment. When you look at the rising cost of living, whether it’s tolls, whether it’s the effects of privatisation, I’ve got my hands full right here in NSW.”