Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull talks as he sits next to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Photo: Reuters, Dan Himbrechts

As the US is mired in domestic political quibbling, China is shoring up their relationship with America’s old friend in the Asia Pacific.

As Deutsche Welle writes Friday, the main focus of this week’s state visit to Australia by Prime Minister Li Keqiang is economic diplomacy. Notably, China has agreed this week to allow greater access to the Chinese market for Australian beef.

But China’s carrots come at a political cost as China pushes its territorial interests in the South China Sea. To that end, Prime Minister Li used a lunch address on Thursday to publicly advise Australia not to take sides, reports the Guardian.

As China now buys twice as many Australian goods as the Aussies’ second biggest trading partner, Japan, you can bet they are listening.

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