A Chinese state-owned television channel has dug up an old interview with Daniel Andrews in which the Victorian premier praises his state’s relationship with the country amid his diplomatic visit this week.

In the old interview, believed to be from 2019, Andrews said there is no issue with countries having disagreements.

Andrews’ visit is the first by an Australian politician to China since the signing of the deal.

“You can have an honest dialogue, but it needs to be a respectful dialogue,” he said in the 2019 clip.

In the resurfaced vision, Andrews also spoke of the importance of the relationship between China and Victoria.

“The Chinese story is absolutely central to the Victorian story for more than 150 years,” he said, alluding to the thousands of Chinese miners who came to the then-colony during the gold rush of the mid-19th century.

“You can’t imagine a modern Victoria without the Chinese influence…

“We think the relationship and partnership with China is very, very important to Victoria, very important to Australia as well.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at a press conference on March 7, 2023.
Andrews’ trip has been criticised for a lack of transparency, but the Victorian premier has defended leaving Australian press behind. (Jason South)

The journey, which will see Andrews meet with senior officials from the Ministry of Education and Beijing government, is part of an effort by the Victorian government to entice Chinese students back to the state.

Phoenix TV is a Chinese state-owned media company based in Hong Kong that claims to “express the voice of Chinese to the world”.

Andrews’ trip has been heavily criticised by the opposition at both the state and federal level for leaving Australian media behind.

“I think all Victorians would want to know who Daniel Andrews is meeting,” Victorian Liberal MP David Southwick said on Monday.

“What’s the intention of the trip? And what’s the benefit to Victorians?” he said.

Andrews earlier defended the absence of local press, saying the trip wasn’t “picture friendly” and is composed of back-to-back meetings.

Labor leader panned for what he said about this sausage sizzle pic

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Clarification: An earlier 9news.com.au version of this story failed to make it clear this was an old interview.

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