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Wong calls for China to help end Ukraine war in G20 meeting



Foreign Minister Penny Wong has called on China to use its leadership to help bring peace to Ukraine, after a sideline meeting at the G20.

Wong met with the new Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang during the summit in India overnight.

Trade was high on the agenda, with Wong pushing for Beijing to lift the $20 billion worth of sanctions that still remain on Australian trade, including on beef, barley, wine, and lobster.

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Wong also used the overnight meeting to raise the issue of the war in Ukraine.

"I know that (Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy) has said he wants to believe that China will do the right thing and not supply weapons to Russia," she said.

"And that is not only Australia's call, but the call of all countries."

Australia, along with the US, has urged China to bring its leadership to bear in ending the conflict in Ukraine, given its close relationship with Russia.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also had a sideline meeting at the G20, which a US official said lasted about 10 minutes.

Blinken urged Russia to return to the New Start nuclear arms control treaty, and asked for the release of US man Paul Whelan, who has been detained in Russia on espionage charges since 2018.

Blinken also emphasised the continued US support for Ukraine.

It's not known how Lavrov responded, but it's the highest-level communication between the two countries in some time.

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