Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined a meeting with China’s new ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, despite a formal request from the Asian nation’s new top diplomat, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Instead, Xiao met with Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Sydney several weeks ago in what was the most senior contact between the two nations in years.
“The relationship between the two countries has been in the diplomatic deep freeze for close to two years and Mr Xiao’s request for a meeting came as Mr Morrison attacked Labor as relatively weak on China and questioned whether it would stand up to Beijing,” the report said. A spokesperson for Morrison said it was appropriate for the Foreign Minister to meet the ambassador, and observers noted that both the PM and Opposition leader Anthony Albanese were likely to be reluctant to meet until after the federal election, which is expected in May.
Read the full story: The Sydney Morning Herald.