Progress in repairing relationship 'unsatisfactory', China tells Australia


Foreign Minister Marise Payne says talks with a top Beijing diplomat at the ASEAN forum in Bangkok were "productive" as Australia seeks to repair strained ties.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne insists Australia will work through its differences with China after a top Beijing diplomat said progress in repairing strained ties between the two countries has been "unsatisfactory".

The comments came after State Councillor Wang Yi met with Senator Payne on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Bangkok on Friday.

Senator Payne believed those talks had been "productive".

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne in Bangkok.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne in Bangkok.

"We discussed a range of issues, including our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, 5G, human rights matters and consular cases," she said in comments obtained by AAP on Saturday.

But in a Reuters report, Mr Wang said: "The process of improving our ties has not been satisfactory."

He hoped China's relations with Australia could be back on track as soon as possible, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.

Australia has banned Chinese telecommunications equipment-maker Huawei from supplying its 5G mobile networks over security concerns and is seeking to counter China's emerging influence in the South Pacific islands.

Mr Wang said Beijing never interferes in the internal affairs of another country.

But Senator Payne was adamant, saying Australia will make its own decisions based on its national interest "as all Australians would expect".

"Of course differences emerge in all relationships from time to time. We will work through those," she said.

"Australia's relationship with China is mutually beneficial. It is not in either party's interests that it be defined by differences."

Senator Payne, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, will meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper for the annual Australia-United States ministerial meeting in Sydney on Sunday.

The growing power of China and Middle East tensions involving Iran are expected to be high on the agenda.

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