Chinese foreign minister to visit Australia in wake of Trump tiff

Visit by Wang Yi could lead to stronger bilateral ties in unsettled global diplomatic order

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 12:06am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 February, 2017, 12:06am

China announced on Friday that Foreign Minister Wang Yi would visit Australia next week, raising the prospect of stronger bilateral ties as US President Donald Trump unsettles the global diplomatic landscape.

Wang would travel to Australia and New Zealand from Tuesday to next Friday, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a press briefing.

‘The worst call by far’: how Trump’s phone conversation with Australia’s PM Turnbull really went

It will be Wang’s first foreign visit following Lunar New Year, and Lu called the trip “a full demonstration of the importance China attaches” to relations with Australia.

Though such visits are often planned well in advance, the announcement coincided with the fallout from a reported tense phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The clash could provide an opening for China as it eyes ways to take advantage of shifting foreign relations caused by the new administration of Trump.

With the US withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Australia is among the countries that have expressed interest in an alternative, Beijing-backed trade deal.