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PM returns to Australia after G7 meetings

Mr Albanese held talks with Mr Biden on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan.

Mr Albanese held talks with Mr Biden on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan. Photo: Getty

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has touched down in Australia after three days of meetings with world leaders in Japan on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

Mr Albanese met US President Joe Biden for a bilateral meeting as well as in a Quad leaders’ forum alongside the Indian and Japanese prime ministers after the original summit in Sydney was cancelled.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still travelling to Australia. He will land in Sydney later on Monday.

He will hold talks with Mr Albanese as well as meet local Indian businesses in Homebush to unveil a foundation stone at the entrance to “Little India” in Sydney’s Harris Park.

The pair will also focus on clean energy and the transition to net zero.

In Japan, the Quad leaders issued a statement of principles on clean energy supply chains in the region and a new initiative to boost the Indo-Pacific’s transition to renewables.

“This is about providing support – economic support, social support, environmental support – for the countries of our region and about co-operating as four great democracies based in this region,” Mr Albanese said on Sunday after chairing the meeting.

China’s increasing militarisation in the Indo-Pacific didn’t escape notice among G7 nations, who chastised Beijing for using economic coercion and adding to regional instability.

Mr Albanese doubled down on the comments, saying Australia had always raised its concerns with China.

“We’ve expressed concern in the past, we’ll continue to do so,” he said.

“What we need to do is to make sure that we work in a way that enhances the peace, security and stability in the region.

“We very clearly support the status quo when it comes to the Taiwan Strait and that is Australia’s position.”

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But he added “people were very positive about the fact that Australia’s relations have improved and that we have dialogue (with Beijing)” as he prepares to head to China at the invitation of the president.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the Quad remained an important forum to bring together four democratic, maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific to promote common values “about the type of region we wish to see”.

“It’s an ability to co-operate across a range of different spheres in relation to supporting a rules-based order that has enabled prosperity and lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

Mr Albanese and Mr Biden also agreed to a critical minerals and clean energy pact that puts emissions reductions and renewables investment at the centre of the partnership.

Mr Albanese also used his trip to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Union leaders to discuss negotiations over the free trade agreement.

“This will be a very significant agreement for Australia,” Mr Albanese said on Sunday.

“I’ll travel to NATO in July and I’m hopeful that around then or sometime soon after we’ll be able to progress that issue.”

-AAP

Topics: G7
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