Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was due in China on Saturday for a state visit, marking a long-awaited thaw in ties between Beijing and Canberra.

It is the first such visit by an Australian leader in seven years as the two nations look to shore up their relationship after a diplomatic spat that affected billions of dollars in trade.

Ahead of his departure, Albanese said his much-anticipated visit marks a "very positive step" in stabilizing strained bilateral ties.