Australia’s new Labor government says relations with China will remain difficult

Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese speaks to supporters after outgoing Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Scott Morrison conceded defeat in the country’s general election, in Sydney, Australia May 21, 2022. REUTERS /Jaimi Joy

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SYDNEY, May 24 (Reuters) – Relations between Australia and China will remain difficult, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Tuesday as the Chinese premier congratulated the new Labor government on its weekend election victory .

Ties between Australia and China, its largest trading partner, are at an all-time low after clashing over a number of issues including trade, the origins of the novel coronavirus and Australia’s accusations of Chinese political interference.

“From an Australian perspective, we understand the complexity of the relationship…but China is looking to shape the world around it in ways we haven’t seen before,” Marles told ABC television. .

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“I think all of that is going to make it a pretty tough route.”

Anthony Albanese, who was sworn in as Australia’s 31st prime minister on Monday, said bilateral relations would remain “difficult” ahead of his departure for a Quad Summit in Tokyo with US President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of Japan and the United States. ‘India. Read more

The Quad is an informal security group seen in Beijing as an attempt to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

A Xinhua report said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to Albanese on his election victory on Monday, possibly ending a two-year Chinese diplomatic freeze in Australia.

Marles said he was not aware of any communication from Beijing.

Labor returned to power as a wave of support for the Greens and climate-focused independents, mostly women, helped topple the conservative Liberal-National coalition in Saturday’s general election. Read more

Former defense minister Peter Dutton was set to become the favorite to lead the Liberals, local media reported, after former prime minister Scott Morrison resigned as party leader.

While the votes are still being counted, Labor leads with 75 seats – one shy of a majority. Some analysts predict Labor will get enough seats to govern alone.

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Reporting by Renju Jose and Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates

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