Bilateral ties between Australia and China have been strained by a suspended death sentence handed to a Chinese-Australian dissident writer

As Australia gets ready to welcome Chinese Premier Li Qiang, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the visit will serve as an opportunity for the former to "pursue a stable and direct relationship with China."

This will be the first time a Chinese premier will be visiting Australia since 2017. Premier Li will visit Adelaide, Canberra, and Western Australia during his four-day visit, meeting with business leaders in each city, Reuters reported.

With a substantial trade in resources and energy exports, China is Australia's top trading partner. Australia is China's top source of iron ore, and China has made significant investments in Australian mining ventures.

"Premier Li Qiang's visit to Australia is an important opportunity to engage directly on key issues for both our nations," Albanese said. "Australia continues to pursue a stable and direct relationship with China, with dialogue at its core," he said.

However, claiming concerns for national interest, Australia had recently prohibited several Chinese investments in critical minerals. Albanese underlined the importance of foreign investment in Australia's economy, but added it was subject to case-by-case analysis.

A worldwide scarcity of vital minerals presents Australia with a significant obstacle when it comes to obtaining raw materials for renewable energy infrastructure. Australia has to manage its reliance on Chinese investment, while addressing security concerns, since China is a significant participant in both investment and resource demand.

The Asian country had also imposed a set of trade barriers on Australia, which cost the latter about $AU20 billion, after it urged an inquiry into COVID-19's origins. However, most of them were removed once the Albanese government came into power.

Simultaneously, authorities in New Zealand are preparing to discuss their trade goals with Li, hoping to triple the amount of the country's exports to China in the coming ten years. But in the context of the Five Eyes information-sharing collaboration, New Zealand takes a nuanced approach to its commercial relationship with China, finding a balance between its concerns for its Western allies and its economic goals, reported the Associated Press.

To offset China's growing influence, Australia, on the other hand, has sided more closely with the United States, its main security ally.