Some leaders looked uncomfortable in Hanoi in 2006 when they wore Vietnamese “ao dai” tunics which are most commonly worn by women.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern emerged from a 50-minute meeting with Xi in Bangkok with an invitation to start working on dates to visit Beijing, reflecting the fact her nation’s relationship with Beijing has been far less fractious than Australia’s over recent years.
Albanese, who had a 30-minute meeting with Xi at the G20 in Bali and a separate discussion with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, said his interactions with Chinese leaders over the past week were the “first steps” to improved relations with China.
“I’m not getting ahead of myself,” Albanese said when asked whether he was hoping for an invitation to Beijing.
“We will continue, arising out of this week’s progress, to take steps forward together.”
He added: “It is not a good thing there had been no discussions at a leaders’ level with our major trading partners. Now it’s good that that dialogue has occurred.”
Albanese said he believed AUKUS would promote “the interests of global security and peace” after Macron predicted the pact “will not deliver” for Australia.
Macron, still angry over the cancellation of a $90 billion French submarine contract, earlier said Australia had entered into a “nuclear confrontation” with China by seeking to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
“We enter into the AUKUS agreement positively. We are positive about the outcome,” Albanese said, adding he had progressed details in meetings with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak over the past week.
Asked whether he would support Taiwan joining the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free-trade deal, Albanese said on Thursday it was “a relationship between nation states that are recognised”.
The pact makes clear, however, that economic territories such as Taiwan are eligible for membership.
Albanese tweaked his language on Saturday after criticism from Taiwan and the Coalition, saying “applications are dealt with on consensus for economies applying to join the CPTPP” and would be judged on their merits.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was glad the government had clarified its position and was open to the island joining the pact.
A spokeswoman for Taipei’s Australian Office – its de facto embassy – said emphatically: “There is no legal uncertainty concerning the status of Taiwan to apply for CPTPP membership.”
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