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International relations

Australia seeks to rebalance ties with China after three-year freeze

Foreign minister says Canberra must 'lower the heat' on potential Taiwan conflict

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong addresses the National Press Club in Canberra on April 17.   © AP

MELBOURNE -- Buried in China's diplomatic deep freezer for nearly three years, Australia has faced an uphill battle trying to repair its rift with its biggest trading partner. But several recent breakthroughs show that Beijing and Canberra may be able to rise above their differences.

In a major address in Canberra on Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said that while relations could not "go back to where we were 15 years ago," the government was looking to stabilize its relationship with China. Wong also said it was Australia's job "to lower the heat" on any potential conflict over Taiwan through its diplomatic efforts, warning against "frenzied" war speculation in domestic media and political circles.

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