But Li quickly donned a red and white scarf of the hometown Sydney Swans to match that of his host, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Li later confessed wearing both team scarves on a balmy autumn evening made him "really hot", but the broad smiles of the two leaders provided a telling contrast to a bad-tempered telephone call between Turnbull and a freshly-elected Donald Trump that made international headlines.
Australia and China found unprecedented common ground on trade during Li's recent five-day visit Down Under, with a clear agenda of rejecting the "America First" protectionism touted by the new U.S. president.
"The cooperation between China and Australia showcases to the region and the world our determination to defend trade liberalization and advocate the benefits of free trade," Turnbull told business leaders and politicians at a forum in Sydney, in comments closely echoed by Li.
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