Australia, China make first ministerial-level contact in 2 years

The defense ministers of Australia and China have met in Singapore, marking the first ministerial-level contact between the countries in more than two years.

Australia's Richard Marles confirmed that his meeting with Wei Fenghe of China took place on Sunday.

High-level political contact between the countries ceased after relations hit a low point over Australia's call in 2020 for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.

Marles raised a number of issues during the talks, including China's recent interception of an Australian military plane over the South China Sea.

Marles described the relationship with China as "complex," but he stressed the need to continue dialogue "because of this complexity."

Australian media reported that the meeting put an end to a two-year diplomatic freeze between Canberra and Beijing.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said at a news conference on Monday that Beijing hopes for the sound and steady development of a comprehensive strategic partnership with Australia.

The spokesperson added that this is what the people of the two countries aspire for, and this serves their fundamental and long-term interests.