Home » Chinese Premier Li Qiang tipped to visit Australia in June

Chinese Premier Li Qiang tipped to visit Australia in June

Chinese Premier Li Qiang tipped to visit Australia in June

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in November. AAP

US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday (AEST) announced a new joint air defence strategy with Australia to counter China’s aggressive actions in the region.

During a state visit honouring the visiting Japanese prime minister, the US president said America and Japan would create an expanded defence architecture with Australia, participate in three-way military exercises with Britain and explore ways for Japan to join a US-led coalition with Australia and New Zealand.

China’s response has been relatively muted so far, although a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman was critical of an agreement to increase military drills in the South China Sea.

“They have been stoking confrontation in the name of co-operation, flexing muscles in the name of peace, and sowing chaos in the name of order. This is no doubt an act of hegemonism,” she said.

The South China Morning Post cited two sources on Thursday saying Mr Li would visit in the third week of June. It also said a ban on Australian lobster exports to China would be lifted during the visit.

The Albanese government has previously said it expected the lobster ban to be lifted soon. The restrictions on some Australian beef exports are less certain though, with the meat industry saying it was not seeing any signs of progress.

Meanwhile, appearing at the National Press Club on Thursday, former senior US intelligence officer Beth Sanner said Australia needed to begin a conversation about possible responses to a Chinese blockade or invasion of Taiwan, saying China “poses a big threat” to regional security.

“One of the good things is that we are in a position right now where there is not an imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan. There is time and what we should be doing with this time is have a conversation in our respective societies about what would we want to do,” she said.

“I think it’s less to me about what America would expect Australia to do because America hasn’t decided about what it would do, and I think relatedly Australians should begin to have a conversation about what is important, what matters and what is really a threat.

“I think people need to start understanding that China poses a pretty big threat, not just to the United States, not just to Taiwan but actually to the way that we all want to live and have our governments work and do business and we’ve seen China go after all of that,” Ms Sanner said.