PM’s plans after Biden cancels visit to Australia

PM cancels Quad meeting after Biden bails

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he will visit the US later this year, after Joe Biden cancelled his planned trip to Australia, leading to the cancellation of next week’s Quad leaders’ summit in Sydney.

The leaders of Australia, the US, Japan, and India had been scheduled to meet in Sydney on May 24, a day after Mr Biden was due to address federal parliament.

But the US President called off his visit early on Wednesday (AEST) as he battled with the US Congress about raising the debt ceiling to avoid an economically catastrophic default, with the deadline looming at the end of the month.

“I had a discussion with President Biden in the early hours of this morning. He expressed very much his disappointment at being unable to come to Sydney for the Quad leaders’ meeting and address the Parliament that had been scheduled for Canberra next week,” Mr Albanese said on Wednesday.

“President Biden, though, indicated that he was very much looking forward to coming down at a future date when it can be arranged, and I will visit the United States for a state visit later this year.”

Mr Albanese said the four leaders planned to get together in Japan on the sidelines of this weekend’s G7 summit, which he will attend as a guest.

“At this stage, we haven’t got a time locked in for that arrangement,” he said.

“This is a decision that’s been made overnight, our time, in the United States.

“The Quad leaders meeting will not be going ahead in Sydney next week.”

Mr Albanese will also seek a one-on-one meeting with Mr Biden in Hiroshima.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s planned visit to Sydney next week, however, is likely to go ahead.

Mr Albanese said the cancellation of Mr Biden’s visit did not downplay the significance of the Quad, which was called off due to the difficulties the President faces in negotiations with the US Congress over the US government debt ceiling.

“President Biden emphasised the importance of the Quad. He was very disappointed at some of the actions, obviously, of some members of Congress and in the US Senate,” he said.

“Obviously, the domestic priority for the president, understandably, is to play a role in resolving those issues.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Mr Biden’s cancellation was disappointing but understandable.

“There are domestic issues that the president has to attend to, and he’d be a welcome guest into our country at any time,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“This was going to be an opportunity on a bipartisan basis to welcome him to our country. The AUKUS arrangement is historic.”

-with AAP

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