New Zealand Prime Minister to visit Australian counterpart in Sydney | National policy
By ROD McGUIRK – Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — New Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held face-to-face meetings with the leaders of the United States, India, Japan and Indonesia during his eventful two weeks in office. power, but he will receive a world leader for the first time as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits Sydney on Thursday.
Ardern described the bilateral relationship between the close neighbors, which were once the same British colony, as “like a family”.
“It is fitting that as New Zealand Prime Minister I am the first foreign head of government to meet Prime Minister Albanese in Australia since he took office,” Ardern said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ardern leads the New Zealand Labor Party, which is more closely aligned with the left-leaning Albanese Australian Labor Party than it was with Australia’s conservative coalition that has ruled for nearly a decade.
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Among the topics of discussion during Ardern’s visit to the Albanese hometown on Thursday and Friday are Australia’s more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets under his administration and support for island nations in the Peaceful.
“Through our single economic market, our people-to-people connections and our common interests in the region and the world, Australia and New Zealand stand together,” Albanese said in a statement.
Australia and New Zealand have both warned of the possibility of a new security deal between China and the Solomon Islands leading to the establishment of a Chinese military base in the South Pacific. China and the Solomons have denied there will be a military base.
International relations have rarely been given such high priority by a fledgling Australian administration that is also tackling domestic issues including the pandemic, soaring inflation and rising interest rates.
The evolving Chinese threat in the region was the main reason Albanese and his foreign minister Penny Wong flew to Tokyo on May 23, just hours after being sworn in and two days after an election. They attended a security summit with President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Wong traveled from Japan to the South Pacific for bilateral visits that coincided with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi’s tour aimed at increasing Beijing’s influence in the region.
On Tuesday, Wong and Albanese were wrapping up a visit to Indonesia, another neighboring country that Australian leaders usually visit early in their administration to highlight the importance of this bilateral relationship.
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