Anthony Albanese's hopes of a fresh meeting with Xi Jinping appear to have been dashed with reports the Chinese president will skip the G20 summit in India.
The prime minister had flagged the possibility of talks with President Xi on the sidelines of the September 9-10 meeting in New Delhi amid a recent thawing of the relationship between the two nations.
But the Chinese leader is likely to skip the summit and send Premier Li Qiang in his place, Reuters reported citing diplomatic officials.
Mr Albanese met with President Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali in 2022.
"It is in Australia's interest to have a stable bilateral relationship with China, and we made it very clear that we were open to dialogue," Mr Albanese told parliament in August.
"I met with Xi Jinping in November last year, and I'm sure we will potentially meet again on the sidelines of the G20 meeting that is coming up in the future."
Mr Albanese will also visit Indonesia and the Philippines during his trip to the summit.
The prime minister could visit China towards the end of the year after accepting an invitation from President Xi.
It comes as Canberra and Beijing continue to thaw their diplomatic relationship, with trade tariffs on Australian barley coming down and the first shipment leaving for China this week.
The Australian government is hoping to resolve trade barriers on wine, lobster and some meat products.
A World Trade Organisation ruling on punitive Chinese tariffs on Australian wine is expected in October.