Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Australia - RTHK
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Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Australia

2017-02-03 HKT 18:37
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  • Wang Yi's visit comes soon after the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull got a tongue lashing from the US President Donald Trump. File photo: AFP
    Wang Yi's visit comes soon after the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull got a tongue lashing from the US President Donald Trump. File photo: AFP
China announced on Friday that Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Australia next week, raising the prospect of stronger bilateral ties as US President Donald Trump unsettles the global diplomatic landscape.

Wang will travel to Australia and New Zealand from Tuesday to next Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said during a press briefing.

It will be Wang's first foreign visit following Chinese New Year, and Lu called the trip "a full demonstration of the importance China attaches" to relations with Australia.

Though such visits are often planned well in advance, the announcement coincided with the fallout from a phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Australia has long been a close Washington ally and has supported the United States in most conflicts since World War II.

But Sunday's call, in which Trump reportedly lambasted Turnbull over a refugee agreement before abruptly ending the conversation, suggested a rocky start to the relationship under the new American leader.

The clash could provide an opening for China as it eyes ways to take advantage of shifting foreign relations under Trump.