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Daniel Andrews to become first Australian leader to visit China since pandemic began | Victorian politics


The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, will travel to China to meet with senior officials on education, trade and cultural issues.

The premier will leave on Monday night, visiting Beijing and the Jiangsu and Sichuan provinces before returning to Melbourne on Saturday morning.

Andrews will be the first Australian leader to visit the country since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

He said China was Victoria’s largest and most significant trading partner and it was important to strengthen that relationship even further.

“This is not the first trip that I’ve made to China and it won’t be the last,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“We think that’s really important for Victorian jobs and exports.”

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Andrews said he had spoken to the prime minister and Anthony Albanese was very positive about the trip.

The Victorian premier denied the relationship between Canberra and Beijing was strained after the $368bn Aukus submarine deal.

“I’m not here to be a commentator on the China-Australia relationship … nor am I here to talk about defence or strategic issues or foreign policy issues,” Andrews said.

“My job, the job I have always done, is to make sure that more Victorian companies can get access to the biggest market in the world.”

Other premiers around the country have also flagged their own trips to China, Andrews said.

The media has not been invited to travel with the premier for this week’s trip.

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