Joe Biden hailed Anthony Albanese’s stamina after the new prime minister flew to Tokyo for a Quad leaders’ summit on his first day on the job.
The 79-year-old US president, who fell asleep at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last year, told Mr Albanese: ‘If you fall asleep while you’re here, that’s fine.’
In his first appearance on the world stage, the Labor leader laughed at President Biden’s self-deprecating joke with diplomats and reporters in the room.
He was also beaming from ear to ear as he posed for photos with his fellow centre-left leader, who remarked that his appearance at the top just hours after taking office was “quite extraordinary”.
Joe Biden hailed Anthony Albanese’s energy after the new prime minister flew to Tokyo on his first day on the job
President Biden fell asleep during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last year
Mr Albanese, 59, was sworn in as prime minister on Monday and immediately flew to Tokyo for the Quad summit with the United States, Japan and India.
The alliance was set up to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
Mr Albanese will return to Australia on Wednesday afternoon after the whirlwind visit.
In his brief address to fellow leaders, President Biden congratulated Mr. Albanese on his victory in Saturday’s election.
“Prime Minister Albanese, I welcome you to your first Quad meeting. Like I said, you’ve been sworn in, flown in, and if you fall asleep while you’re here, that’s okay because that I don’t know how you do,” he said.
“It’s really quite extraordinary to come out of the election campaign as well.
‘Congratulations on your election. When you won and I called you, we greatly appreciate your commitment to be here so soon after taking office.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks at the Quad Leaders Summit meeting
The four leaders waved to the cameras as they posed for photos at the Tokyo summit
Mr Albanese said Australia’s commitment to the Quad remained unwavering despite the change in government.
“We’ve had a change of government in Australia, but Australia’s commitment to the Quad hasn’t changed and won’t change,” he said.
“And our commitment to ASEAN (an alliance of Southeast Asian nations) and its centrality has not changed.
“My government has already committed to a greater focus on Southeast Asia, including the appointment of a special envoy for the region and $470 million in additional foreign assistance over the next four years. ”
Mr Albanese also spoke about his increased commitments in the fight against climate change and mentioned his goal of reducing emissions by 43% by 2030.
“The priorities of the new Australian Government align with the Quad Agenda – taking action to change claimants and build a stronger and more resilient Indo-Pacific region through better economic security, better cybersecurity, better energy security and better environmental and health security,” he said. .
“Our cooperation is based on the values we share – a commitment to representative democracy, the rule of law and the right to live in peace.”
The four leaders spoke of ensuring a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.
US President Joe Biden meets with Quad Summit leaders Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Mr Albanese said Australia’s commitment to the Quad remained unwavering despite the change in government
Olive branch from China to Australia
China appears to have offered Australia an olive branch following the election of Anthony Albanese, but the new prime minister is already talking tough in Beijing.
An op-ed from state media mouthpiece Global Times described the election result as “a watershed moment” and reminded its readers that relations with Australia had been “mutually beneficial” for 50 years.
He went on to say that the Australian government under Scott Morrison “had been badly damaged [the relationship] in only a few years, which is lamentable”.
He said Australia had taken an “anti-China hawkish stance” in recent years, but seemed to present itself as “a good partner” in the fight against climate change and “economic prosperity”.
The Global Times has published a series of articles in recent years mocking, threatening and raging Australia’s trade and diplomatic relations with the United States, and attacking Mr Morrison, including calling him a “clown” in february.
The official Xinhua news agency reported that Premier Li Keqiang had “called” Mr Albanese to congratulate him on his election victory. This was denied by the Prime Minister’s office.
Li said in a statement: “The Chinese side is ready to work with the Australian side to review the past, look to the future and uphold the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit, so as to promote healthy growth. regular basis of their global strategic partnership.
Mr. Li spoke with Scott Morrison in 2018. Mr. Morrison spoke with Chinese Supreme Leader Xi Jinping in June 2019.
Quad leaders were due to discuss security issues in the region, including the signing of a security pact between China and the Solomon Islands, as well as climate change, infrastructure needs and relief collaboration in the event of a disaster.
It comes as China’s foreign minister is due to land in Honiara later in the week to formally sign the deal.
The Quad is also set to unveil new maritime measures to combat illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific, including using satellite technology to track illegal fishermen, according to the Financial Times.
President Biden met with Prime Minister Kishida on Monday where he unveiled the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, which includes a dozen initial partners representing 40% of global GDP.
Partners include Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei.
Mr Albanese said the Quad dialogue would send a signal to the world that there was a new government in Australia.
The four leaders delivered speeches at the Tokyo summit on Tuesday
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida greets Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the lobby of the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo
Mr Albanese smiles as he represents Australia on the world stage for the first time
“This is a government that represents a change in the way we treat the world on issues like climate change, but also a continuity in the way we respect democracy and the way we value our friendships and alliances of long time,” he said. told reporters in Canberra before he left on Monday.
Mr. Albanese will also hold one-on-one bilateral talks with the leaders throughout Tuesday.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by Foreign Secretary Penny Wong, with the couple being briefed by the head of the Office of National Intelligence and senior officials from the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Department and the Foreign Office on the trip.
Mr Albanese also had a 25-minute chat with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson while on the air on Monday.
The couple discussed continued support for the AUKUS trilateral agreement and climate change, with Mr Albanese describing the call as a ‘friendly and very positive discussion about our strong relationship between our two countries’.
Mr Albanese received a phone call from President Biden on Sunday evening, which the Prime Minister described as “fruitful and productive”.
With the AAP
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida walks with new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the top of the Quad