Wang made the remarks in a wide-ranging speech to the New York-based Asia Society which was hosted by the think tank’s president and former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd overnight.

Wang said relations with the United States had “spiralled down to the lowest level since the establishment of diplomatic ties 41 years ago”.

US President Donald Trump (left), with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019.

US President Donald Trump (left), with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019.Credit:AP

“This grave, difficult situation in China-US relations is not something we want to see,” he said. “We need to replace sanctions with dialogue and consultation.”

But he said he saw three areas for better collaboration between China’s President Xi Jinping and President-elect Joe Biden including on climate change, the pandemic and economic recovery.

Wang’s speech focussed mostly on US-Sino relations and did not address the deterioration in the Australia-China relationship which has resulted in China banning Australian coal and imposing huge tariffs on a range of goods including barley, wine and lobster.

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Australia is taking China to the World Trade Organisation over it’s 80 per cent tariffs on barley and has not ruled out further action.

In recent weeks, China angered Australia when a prominent diplomat posted on Twitter, a platform which is banned in China, a fabricated image of an Australian SAS soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan child.

The post called on Australia to stop criticising China’s human rights abuses.

Wang defended China’s so-called Wolf Warrior diplomacy saying it was about equality.

“China’s diplomacy is for equity. Having experienced great humiliation in history, China truly understands how important equity is,” he said.

“We believe that countries irrespective of their size and strength are all equal members of the international community. The big and strong must not bully the small and weak.”

Rudd said the US-China relationship was having detrimental effects on third countries like Australia which was “very much in the firing line in the tensions of the bilateral relationship”.

Chinese officials are refusing to accept phone calls from the Australian government despite repeated requests from the Morrison government to restart communications.

The former Labor leader urged Wang to restart talks.

“I enjoyed very much your comments about the fact that face-to-face dialogue – once COVID makes that possible – enables us to solve most problems and I hope soon that that is possible between the United States and China,” he said.

“And I’ll put in a pitch for my own country Australia [and for] face-to-face contact between the Chinese government and the Australian government as well.”

There are currently no Australian journalists working in China as a result of Beijing’s refusal to grant visas and intimidation of the two correspondents who were the last to file from on the ground.

But Wang insisted that everyone watching his address to the Asia Society was welcome to visit Xinjiang and Tibet where he said they would see social harmony.

“Some politicians have fabricated too much false information about Xinjiang and Tibet,” Wang said.

“For our foreign friends who truly care about China and wish to know more about Xinjiang, Tibet and other parts of China, we are always ready to share with them the facts.

“We welcome you, all of you joining us through the video link today from various countries to visit China, including the two autonomous regions at your convenience.

Rudd warned that this “will require greater and more direct engagement between the two sides and all sides on that because there are quite different views.”

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