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June 14, 2024
Focus This Week
A community space to discuss the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

Dear Focus Reader,

Chinese Premier Li Qiang has embarked on a diplomatic tour through Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia, aiming to strengthen China's relationships in the region amidst broader geopolitical tensions. Li's first stop was in New Zealand, where he met with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in efforts to deepen trade ties. The two leaders discussed their "significant economic relationship," which Luxon said can benefit people in both countries, and announced a series of new trade and environmental agreements.

While New Zealand has toughened its stance on China over the last few years, and Luxon has said he'll continue to engage consistently with China, including "areas where [they] disagree," the leaders also agreed it's important to expand cooperation. "China is ready to be part of New Zealand's endeavors to double the value of exports in the next decade," Li said. He also announced that China will extend visa-free travel to New Zealanders, while New Zealand will support Chinese language teaching and cultural exchanges though its Confucius Institutes in the country.

Li will head to Australia on the 15th, serving as the first trip made to the country by a Chinese premier since 2017. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has emphasized that it's "another important step" toward stabilizing relations between the two nations. Li will visit Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth, largely focusing on trade discussions, as China remains Australia's largest trading partner, with Australian resources and energy exports dominating the trade flow.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese plans to address key issues such as military confrontations and the case of detained Australian writer Yang Hengjun, while also discussing symbolic matters like extending the loan of pandas to Adelaide Zoo. Earlier this week, Albanese stated Canberra remains unchanged on its position not to ban TikTok and would "support the status quo when it comes to Taiwan," as he said it is "in the international community's interests for that to occur."

Li's trip also includes a visit to Malaysia, though details are still being confirmed. Amidst heightened strategic competition in the Asia-Pacific, particularly involving the AUKUS security pact, the United States is closely monitoring these visits. Improved China-Australia relations could enhance regional security, but Washington remains cautious of Beijing's broader strategic intentions.

Stay up to date on China's foreign policy by catching up on our latest Focus content, including topics on AI cooperation, military dialogues, and bilateral exchange.

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About Focus This Week

Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China and the U.S. every week. It is a community space to exchange thoughts and ideas about the China-U.S. relationship and beyond.

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