Beijing's chief diplomat to Australia says he is seeking a organise a top-level dialogue between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
"Where exactly halfway between us, we can talk about those, but we need efforts from both sides," Xiao said.
Sidestepping the question of whether Beijing would have any preconditions for the meeting, the ambassador said he had been working with Australian officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs to come to an arrangement. But he warned it would need to be when a "favourable atmosphere" was created.
"When there's really a wish and the will for both sides," he said.
Beijing representatives previously leaked a document of "14 grievances" to Australian media outlets in 2020 outlining the conditions the government would have to follow before the diplomatic freeze could be lifted.
PM Unaware of Plans For Bilateral TalksMeanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Albanese said he was not aware of any overtures from the Chinese ambassador for dialogue, but he did not rule out the possibility.
"I'm open to dialogue with anyone at any time, particularly with leaders of other nations. It's a good thing if there is dialogue, and certainly, if such a meeting took place, I would welcome it as I welcome dialogue with leaders throughout the region and throughout the globe," the prime minister told reporters on Sept. 7.
Albanese has stated if Beijing was serious about fixing current relations it would need to end the trade bans on Australian goods imposed after the former foreign minister called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19. At present, Beijing still has sanctions on beef, coal, wheat, barley, seafood, lamb, honey, and timber imports.
The prime minister also said Beijing needed to withdraw its list of 14 demands.
Comments Bely a Frosty Relationship From ChinaSuggestions of a meeting from the ambassador come despite strained bilateral ties.
On Sept. 6, the Chinese Embassy in Australia accused the government of "ideological prejudice" for Foreign Minister Penny Wong's comments regarding the United Nation's report on human rights in Xinjiang.