Former foreign minister Julie Bishop has warned Australia's relations with China will remain frosty for a lengthy time and urged the Federal Government to avoid tit-for-tat exchanges with Beijing.
Ms Bishop also stressed the economic importance of China for Australia, warning it would be unwise to "unnecessarily offend our largest customer".
She was speaking during a webinar event organised by the Australian National University in Canberra, of which she is chancellor.
"The infamous Chinese freezer can last for years," Ms Bishop told the Geopolitical Leadership in a Post-Covid Asia-Pacific webinar.
"The way for the Australian government forward is to continue to protect our national interest, of course, but avoid the unnecessary media tit-for-tat with Chinese officials."
Ms Bishop urged the Australian Government to display patience and wait for "the temperature to cool a bit".
The former Liberal Party deputy leader said there was a need to re-engage with Beijing but declared it would be "some time before we see a thawing" of the relationship.
"I'm assuming this is what's happening [but] I would be looking for opportunities to engage across many sectors not just political or government-to-government," Ms Bishop told the webinar.
Australia-China relations plunged to a new low during the past year after the Morrison Government's push for an international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in China and new foreign interference laws.
Beijing retaliated with trade sanctions imposed on Australian exports including seafood, barley, wine and other industries.
Australia has also joined other western countries including the US and Japan in counter-balancing China's growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/julie-bishop-warns-on-china-australia-relations/73040c06-f01c-40fe-ad1b-c3702c59f7fe