China’s foreign minister has commented on his country’s tense relations with Australia in recent years, saying a “political force” insists on viewing China as a rival instead of a partner.
Wang Yi has been touring Pacific nations trying to garner support for Beijing’s regional development plan.
Mr Wang was asked about the future of China-Australia relations during his visit to Papua New Guinea on Friday, according to a statement from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Wang “noted that the crux of the difficulties in China-Australia relations in the past few years is that some political force in Australia insists on viewing China as a rival rather than a partner”, said the statement, posted on the ministry’s website on Friday night.
“State Councilor Wang stressed that to improve China-Australia relations, there is no ‘auto-pilot’ mode.
“A reset requires concrete actions. This meets the aspirations of people in both countries and the trend of our time.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs has been contacted for comment.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong is also touring the Pacific, and on Friday said the security of the island nations must remain in the hands of the region.
Senator Wong said she had received correspondence from her Chinese counterpart following her election and would respond in due course as appropriate.
The Chinese premier had reached out to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese too, who also said he would respond in due course.