One word Anthony Albanese refused to say at APEC conference

Anthony Albanese has refused to comment on US President Joe Biden calling China‘s President Xi Jinping a ‘dictator’ but welcomed renewed military dialogue between the global powers.

Speaking at the APEC Summit on Friday, the Prime Minister said he was positive that discussions had progressed between Mr Biden and Mr Xi and raised the easing of leftover trade bans on Australia.

But when asked if he agreed with Mr Biden’s remarks that China’s President was a ‘dictator’, Mr Albanese was careful to avoid the term.

‘China has a different political system from Australia. It’s not a democratic state with elections with multi-party elections,’ he said.

US President Joe Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a 'dictator' but Prime Minister Anthony Albanese did not use the same word while in San Francisco for the APEC conference

‘The impression that I get was that the discussions (between US and China) were very positive, and breakthroughs on issues like military-to-military discussion and communication is something that has been raised when I was in Washington DC with President Biden and something that I raised with President Xi when I met with him in Beijing.’

Mr Biden angered China’s Foreign Ministry after he described China’s leader as a ‘dictator’ following a highly anticipated meeting on Wednesday.

Later, China condemned the remarks at a press conference with Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning calling Mr Biden’s speech ‘irresponsible political manipulation’.

After a formal talks on Friday, Mr Albanese confirmed he had again raised the prospect of China lifting its leftover trade sanctions on Australian beef, lobster and wine.

‘I reiterated to him that the signal that the impediments to trade between our two nations were reducing and being removed were being received positively in Australia,’ Mr Albanese said.

Mr Albanese instead explained that 'China has a different political system from Australia. It's not a democratic state with elections with multi-party elections'

PM’s concern for summer

Earlier, Mr Albanese expressed serious concerns for Australia’s looming summer during high-level climate talks with leaders in the US.

The Prime Minister met with both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on the sidelines of the APEC summit on Thursday.

In an ‘informal chat’ with Mr Trudeau, both leaders discussed joint efforts to address climate change in the wake of the country’s devastating wildfires.

‘I’m very proud that Australians were there once again to help Canada, just as Canadians have been in Australia. We are very worried about our upcoming summer,’ Mr Albanese said.

‘We have all the conditions that were there prior to 2019-20. And indeed, the fact that that period has gone means you’ve got the growth that’s just about the right size, elements, conditions to really be concerned with a very dry, hot period coming up for us.’

While at the conference Mr Albanese also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who he had not seen since September

Canada has had a record-breaking fire season in 2023, with 65,000 fires recorded across the nation’s 13 provinces and territories since March.

Earlier, Mr Albanese held his first meeting with Mr Thavisin since the leader’s election in August.

Mr Albanese said both Thailand and Australia had a lot of progress to work through under Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, which was launched in Jakarta in September.

Thailand is Australia’s third largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, with two-way trade worth more than $24.6bn in 2021-22.

‘Australia and Thailand have a great friendship and we are working on our strategic partnership that we have in place between our two great countries,’ Mr Albanese said.

The Australian leader also took the time to talk one-on-one with Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin who was also in attendance

‘There’s a large diaspora in Australia with the Thai community. It’s very big and a community that’s involved in businesses, involved in commerce and spread right around the entire nation.’

Mr Albanese signalled a further strengthening of economic ties and said the new agreement was ‘pointing towards how our complementary economies can work to create jobs in both of our jurisdictions.’


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