(CNN)Relations between Australia and China have grown frosty in recent months, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitted Thursday, amid reports in local media that Australian ministers had been refused Chinese visas.
Australia admits 'tension' with Beijing over new anti-influence laws
In December last year, Turnbull's government announced multiple new laws aimed at tightening Australia's security and electoral processes, including a ban on foreign donations. The move followed a series of scandals involving China's alleged influence in Australian politics.
Talking to reporters, Turnbull denied allegations Australians had been refused entry to China, but admitted the the two countries had drifted apart following the introduction of the new legislation.
"There has been a degree of tension in the relationship which has arisen because of criticism in China of our foreign interference laws, but it is very important that the Australian government ensures only Australians are influencing our political processes," Turnbull told local radio station 3AW.
China is Australia's largest trade partner by a wide margin but the two countries have clashed in the past over political issues, including human rights and the alliance with the United States.
Turnbull added the relationship between China and Australia was very "deep and extensive," saying he regularly corresponded with Chinese president Xi Jinping.