Australia to spend £1 billion to counter China influence in Pacific

“In a relationship as dynamic as ours … there will be from time to time differences,” Ms Payne said after the meeting.

Mr Wang said: “While China and Australia do not always agree it is vitally important that we always match our words with actions. We are confident Australia will translate its positive will of growing relations with China into actual actions.”

The two foreign ministers met just hours after Australia revealed it was likely to block a £7.2 billion takeover by a Chinese firm of Australia’s largest gas pipeline business. Canberra said it was concerned about undue concentration of foreign ownership by a single entity.

Analysts in Australia have suggested the thaw was prompted by Beijing’s concern about becoming isolated in the face of Donald Trump’s tariffs and  threats and other recent diplomatic skirmishes.

Richard McGregor, from the Lowy Institute, said China “can’t afford to be fighting on too many fronts”.

“Beijing is facing not just a showdown with the US, but push-back on a range of fronts and on lots of issues around the world – in Germany, on the acquisition of technology, and in Malaysia on fears of debt-trap diplomacy, to name just two,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

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