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PM Anthony Albanese to unveil Asia blueprint before key global summits

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's trip includes the ASEAN summit in Jakarta and G20 in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's trip includes the ASEAN summit in Jakarta and G20 in New Delhi. Photo: AAP

Expanding trade and investment ties with south-east Asia will be on the agenda for Anthony Albanese as he attends a series of summits.

The Prime Minister flew out on Tuesday for Indonesia, where he will attend the ASEAN and East Asia Summits in Jakarta.

The visit will be the first stop in his week-long trip to Asia, which includes a visit to the Philippines for bilateral talks before heading to India for the G20 summit.

Mr Albanese will use the Jakarta visit to unveil Australia’s south-east Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

The prime minister said boosting economic ties with Southeast Asia would be crucial, with the region on track to be the fourth-largest economy.

“This is a most substantive piece of work ever done about Australia’s relations when it comes to our economic future with south-east Asia,” Mr Albanese told Parliament.

He said the strategy, which covers agriculture, resources, renewable energy and education among other sectors, would boost Australia’s prosperity and lift living standards across the region.

It was developed by former banker Nicholas Moore, who serves as the special envoy to south-east Asia, in consultation with business leaders and academics.

“I will announce tomorrow the first steps we are taking to implement the strategy,” Mr Albanese said.

Two-way trade between Australia and ASEAN nations, which include Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, was worth $178 billion in 2022.

The strategy will be formally announced at the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum.

Regional security, green infrastructure and making supply chains more resilient will also be on the agenda.

While in Indonesia, the Prime Minister will hold one-on-one talks with other world leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

He will also hold bilateral meetings with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, the first time Mr Albanese will have formal talks with either leader.

Mr Albanese is also set to attend a business reception in Jakarta.

President Joe Biden is not attending the East Asia Summit, with Vice President Kamala Harris to represent the US.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will skip the East Asia Summit as well as the G20 summit.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Gatra Priyandita said the emphasis on ASEAN was crucial for Australia to maintain its strategic focus in the region.

“Anthony Albanese’s attendance shows Australia is committed to multilateralism in relation to ASEAN, and ASEAN centrality,” he told AAP.

“There’s a long-standing argument that ASEAN loses out to regional players (as a forum), and at least the prime minister is trying to address that gap.”

-AAP

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