Home World Anthony Albanese outlines foreign policy priorities, but shuns China

Anthony Albanese outlines foreign policy priorities, but shuns China

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Anthony Albanez declined to say whether he would pick up the phone to the Chinese president if he becomes prime minister.

The Labor leader spoke to reporters Wednesday at the National Press Club, where he outlined his foreign policy priorities three days before the federal election.

ABC political correspondent Laura Tingle, who hosted the event, told the audience that Scott Morrison was the first prime minister in more than 50 years not to run before the federal election in Canberra.

Mr Albanese was asked if he would call Xi Jinping, and China reportedly plans to hold new talks with either Labor or the coalition after the election.

Expanding China’s influence, especially in the Pacific, has become central to the Australian election campaign since the signing of a controversial security treaty between Beijing and the Solomon Islands.

Mr Albanez avoided answering directly, instead saying that China had “changed its position” under Xi’s leadership.

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“I think that relations between Australia and China will remain difficult, regardless of who wins the election,” Mr Albanese said.

Camera iconLabor leader Anthony Albanese has outlined his foreign policy priorities when he becomes prime minister. Sam Ratin Credit: News Corp Australia

Asked about the prime minister’s suggestion that he would be a “weak leader” in the international arena, Mr Albanese returned the question to Mr Morrison.

“Do you know what the weak are? Weak leakage of private text message with ally. It is weak, ”he said.

“You have a bad headline: ‘Oh, we’ll just throw it away.’ And then say, “Oh, I don’t know where it came from.”

Mr Albanese was referring to the now infamous deterioration in relations between Mr Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron after the Australian Government terminated a contract for French-made submarines.

Diplomatic discord between the two leaders arose after Macron accused Morrison of lying about abandoning his contract in favor of a new nuclear-submarine agreement with the United States and Britain.

Parts of the text-sharing were then published by some Australian media outlets in a clear attempt to show that Macron was not blinded by plans to abandon his submarines for the sake of the AUKUS agreement.

Relations between Scott Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron have deteriorated since the termination of his submarine contract.  Adam Taylor
Camera iconRelations between Scott Morrison and French President Emmanuel Macron have deteriorated since the termination of his submarine contract. Adam Taylor Credit: Supplied
Penny Wong's press conference
Camera iconLabor spokeswoman Penny Wong will fly to Tokyo for a meeting on Tuesday when her party forms a government. David Clark Credit: News Corp Australia

Mr Albanez repeatedly referred to the incident during his speech at the press club on Wednesday, saying he “will not miss text messages from international leaders” if he becomes prime minister.

But when asked a second time whether he would “pick up the phone” and call the Chinese president, Mr Albanese did not answer the question.

“The first thing I will do is meet with our allies … next week. This is my priority, ”he said, referring to the upcoming Quad meeting with the leaders of the United States, India and Japan next week.

Mr Albanese and Labor spokesman Penny Wong will immediately be sworn in if their party forms a government to fly to Tokyo for a summit on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Mr Albanez said taking action on climate change, restoring Australia’s position in the Pacific and strengthening its relationship with the Biden administration would be among his priorities.

He said that had it not been for the Quad meeting, his first diplomatic trip would have been to Indonesia, given that it “will be a superpower in the world”.

https://thewest.com.au/news/anthony-albanese-outlines-foreign-policy-priorities-but-dodges-question-on-china-c-6846475

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