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Abbott v Putin at Beijing trade summit

Tony Abbott is set to come face to face with Russian leader Vladimir Putin for the first time since the MH17 attack when he travels to China for trade talks next week.

深圳桑拿网

The prime minister will arrive in Beijing on Sunday night ahead of the annual APEC leaders’ summit.

It will mark the beginning of a whirlwind week of diplomacy for Mr Abbott, who will also visit Myanmar for Asian security talks before returning to Australia to host the G20 in Brisbane.

While much has been made of Mr Abbott’s plans to “shirt-front” the Russian president at the G20 over the downing of MH17, the pair will actually encounter each other first in Beijing.

It’s understood Mr Abbott is seeking a one-on-one meeting with Mr Putin on Monday, to reiterate his anger over the Russian-backed separatist missile attack that brought down the Malaysia Airlines flight in Ukraine. Thirty-eight Australians were among the 298 killed in the disaster.

It’s believed Mr Abbott wants to get the meeting out of the way so it doesn’t overshadow the economic focus of the G20.

If Mr Putin refuses the request for a formal meeting the pair will likely meet on APEC’s sidelines on Tuesday.

Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says there will be a meeting but he is not sure when or where.

“They will have an opportunity to have talks on the sidelines of one or another summit in any case,” he told the TASS news agency.

This year’s APEC is focused on advancing regional economic integration and infrastructure development.

Also high on Mr Abbott’s agenda will be advancing the long-awaited free trade agreement talks with China.

The prime minister hopes to finally seal the deal this month, following on from similar deals with Korea and Japan.

Australia is also set to sign a $1 billion live cattle deal with China.

But China may also want to talk about its new Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank – which could be awkward for Mr Abbott.

Last month, 20 countries joined with China to sign an agreement to set up the $54 billion body aimed at addressing a multi-billion-dollar funding gap for dams, ports, roads and other capital works across Asia.

But Australia, the US, Japan and Korea declined to be among the founders because of concerns the bank lacks the same levels of governance and accountability as bodies such as the World Bank.

The issue has reportedly split the federal cabinet: Treasurer Joe Hockey wanted to sign on to the bank but was overruled after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop raised national security concerns.

Mr Abbott will head to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, on Wednesday for the ASEAN East Asia Summit.

He will return to Australia next Friday.

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