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Wong prepares to meet Chinese counterpart

Foreign Minister Penny Wong is preparing to meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi for the second time in three months.

Senator Wong is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where the war in Ukraine is a major focus for world leaders.

A sideline meeting is in the works for later this week.

“I understand those arrangements (with the Chinese) are being finalised, and if they are finalised, then I’m sure that we will have a productive engagement,” Senator Wong said on Wednesday AEST.

“We do not want a world where disputes are resolved by power alone.”

Defence Minister Richard Marles says the government is working to stabilise the bilateral relationship with China.

Mr Marles says the Albanese government has attempted to strike a different tone than its predecessor but would continue to prioritise Australia’s national interest.

“Particularly when that differs from the actions of other countries and that includes China,” he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

“Advancing our national interest is done by making sure that we are engaging with the world in a professional (and) diplomatic way.”

The foreign minister was also pressed on Australia’s position if China were to spark conflict with Taiwan, but wouldn’t be drawn on hypotheticals.

“Australia’s present position on Taiwan has not changed,” she said.

“We want to see peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We do not want to see any unilateral change to the status quo.”

It follows US President Joe Biden saying the nation would defend Taiwan if there was a military invasion.

“Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack,” to said in a CBS 60 Minutes interview.

White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said the remarks “speak for themselves” and didn’t constitute a change in the White House’s policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan.

“I do think our policy has been consistent and is unchanged and will continue,” he said.

Senator Wong announced the government had started to look for a person to fill the inaugural role of First Nations ambassador for Australia.

with Reuters

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