Scott Morrison met with Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G7 summit and agreed to work closely on challenges in the increasingly competitive Indian Pacific region, including China.
Regional issues were discussed during the Australian prime minister’s first meeting with the US president over the weekend – but the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, also attended, which became a tripartite engagement.
In the midst of growing tensions with China, England’s Cornwall is seeking support from other leaders, who have described Canberra as “economic coercion”.
They see China’s growing claims among Western nations over the Pacific region and the rule of law as a challenge.
But it is unclear whether Australia and Britain will sign their free trade agreement within the next 48 hours, with Australian Trade Minister Dan Tahan announcing on Sunday that “the clock will tick and time will run out” and “if we More time will be needed then we will take more time.
Following the wrapping of the G7 on Sunday, Morrison is due to visit London for two more days of meetings with Johnson where he hopes to announce a trade agreement in principle – but the Australian government has indicated that it is only a “comprehensive” “The agreement will be signed. And the ambitious “agreement” that opens up access to the British market for Australian agricultural exporters.
Biden, Morrison and Johnson said in a joint statement after their meeting that they had “discussed a number of issues of mutual concern, including the Pacific region.”
“They agreed that the strategic context in the Indian Ocean is changing and there is a strong argument for deeper cooperation between the three governments,” the statement said.
The leaders welcomed future visits and exercises in the Indian Ocean through the British Career Strike Group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Later in a doorstep interview, Morrison described it as “a meeting of great friends and allies who have a vision of the world.”
Morrison said the meeting was tripartite because it was “an opportunity that presented because we’re all here, so it was mutual.”
“Of course this was a great opportunity for my first meeting with the president. I mean I have known Boris for many years,” the prime minister told reporters.
“And there is a very simple understanding between the three of us and a great history of friendship and partnership, as well as shared ideas and liberal democracies about its challenges and strategic challenges.”
Morrison did not say how many times China attended the tripartite meeting – but said Australia was “not a big friend of the United States and Britain”.
“And we’ve been working together on our respective security issues for a long time, and so we had a chance to talk about today and see if we can cooperate more in the future,” Morrison told reporters. How can that be? “
In an interview with Sky News on Sunday, Tahan called the tripartite meeting “very historic.”
“They were able to talk about the challenges in the Pacific and how the three countries can work together, and that’s what I think all Australians should be confident about,” Than said. “
“The United States, under President Biden, has made it very clear that they have our backs, they will not leave us on the ground – and I think that’s surprisingly satisfying. This is a very complex geostrategic environment in the Pacific.
Before traveling on the G7, Morrison met with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who advised him to work with China on “a long and mutually constructive process.”
Lee said on Thursday: “There will be some special places, and some not, and you have to deal with them, but in partnership with them there will be issues that you want to continue and difficulties. I’m not trying to add issues.
Tahan argued on Sunday that this was the way the Australian government was “trying”.
Tahan said constructive relations are in the interests of both Australia and China, although there were things with which they would have to “agree to a consensus”.
Last week, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman responded to reports that US ships and Australian ships were sailing together via the South China Sea: “We hope that the countries concerned will work for regional peace and stability, not muscle-building.” We can do more to promote it. “
The G7 launched China’s Belt and Road Initiative as part of a broader push against Beijing’s demands for human rights, supply chains, support for Taiwan and further disclosure of the origins of the Corridor 19 epidemic. He also agreed on plans to establish alternatives.
Morrison, attending the G7 as an observer state, notes that Australia had previously called for an investigation into the onset of epidemics and related issues, but that the exercises “have not yet taken place”. China has objected to the Australian public’s demand for the investigation, arguing that it is being investigated.
“The purpose of these inquiries is to understand – it has nothing to do with politics or any blaming or anything else – it’s about understanding,” Morrison said.
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