The subtle and not-so-subtle signs that Beijing is serious about repairing the relationship with Canberra

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived early for a meeting with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong in Bali two months ago.

In Chinese culture, the act of waiting demonstrates authenticity and kindness.

Given recent history, arriving early is not what Australia might have expected from China’s top diplomat.

Canberra was left waiting for nearly two years during a diplomatic freeze, hoping officials in Beijing would answer the phone.

Wang’s meeting with Wong during the G20 was the first ministerial-level meeting between the two countries since 2019.

They apparently had a lot to talk about. The meeting exceeded the scheduled duration and was Wang’s longest official meeting on the sidelines of the event.

A man and woman bump elbows for the camera with the Australian and Chinese flags behind them.
Penny Wong previously met with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Indonesia in July.(Supplied: Embassy of Australia in Jakarta)

Now, 77 days later, Wang and Wong have met again, this time on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

It is a moment that could be a critical turning point in China’s relations with Australia.

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