Australian Prime Minister to mend fences with China

Craig Hill

Julia Gillard is planning to make up for previous Australian government snubs to China with a visit to Asia’s premier financial forum in the first week of April.

Despite the pressures of campaigning for a September election during the pre-budget parliamentary break, the Prime Minister plans to attend the Boao Forum for Asia, held on the Chinese island of Hainan each year, for the first time.

The visit would come after a period of strained relations between Australia and China over foreign investment policies, development plans and the establishment of a base for US marines in northern Australia. Last year the Gillard government did not even send a ministerial representative to the Boao Forum, which is styled as China’s version of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke said at the time that the government was allowing the relationship with China to…

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