Joe Biden, Anthony Albanese APEC summit
Anthony Albanese met with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the APEC summit. Image by AP PHOTO
  • politics

Albanese hails ‘warm’ US-China talks at APEC summit

November 18, 2023

US President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have had a “warm discussion” smoothing over recent tensions, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says, describing it as positive news for the region.

Mr Albanese said he witnessed the informal conversation during the APEC summit in San Francisco, after Mr Biden described his Chinese counterpart as a dictator when responding to media questions.

“It is always good when dialogue occurs, and dialogue between the United States and China is very positive,” Mr Albanese told reporters on Saturday.

“After the meeting concluded, there was a very long discussion between President Biden and President Xi.

“It was a warm discussion that I witnessed, and it was very positive. The agreement on military to military communications is positive.”

Joe Biden, Xi Jinping APEC summit
 US President Joe Biden and Chinese President President Xi Jinping held talks at the summit. Image by AP PHOTO 

Mr Albanese said the two leaders discussed artificial intelligence, and the challenges that faced the world, as well as the specific issues between the superpowers.

Australia’s prime minister also met with Mr Biden and Mr Xi on the sidelines of the summit and had talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday morning (AEDT).

The talks came after he recently became the first Australian leader in seven years to set foot on Chinese soil.

Beijing has said it views ascension to the 12-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc as essential to deepening ties with Australia.

The Albanese government has left the door open to China’s bid, and won’t block the application.

But for a new country to sign up to the trade agreement, member states must give unanimous support, with Japan traditionally opposed.

Mr Albanese also met with Wang Yi, China’s minister for foreign affairs, on the sidelines of the summit.

“He regards my visit there as being very successful,” Mr Albanese said.

“We spoke about Premier Li coming to Australia next year, now that the leaders’ meetings have been resumed.

“The relationship with China is important … this is important for Australian jobs and that’s the task here, to represent Australia’s national interest.”

Mr Albanese also met with Vietnamese president Vo Van Thuong on Saturday, before the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, and with Thailand’s new prime minister Srettha Thavisin for the first time.

He will fly home later on Saturday and said it was important Australia had been represented at the summit.

“In today’s globalised economy, what happens here has a direct impact on Australian jobs and the Australian economy,” he said.