Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has arrived in Japan ahead of the highly anticipated G7 Summit, where he will engage with influential global leaders. In a captivating video, Albanese is seen disembarking from a plane at Hiroshima airport, greeted by local officials, and whisked away in a sleek silver BMW. This marks the culmination of his first year in office, as he jets off to the prestigious summit as Japan’s guest, representing Australia among the world’s leading advanced economies.
The initial stop on Albanese’s agenda is a poignant visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, a significant site commemorating the city’s tragic fate as the first to experience a nuclear attack during World War II. As the G7 focuses on nuclear non-proliferation, it resonates deeply that nearly eight decades have passed since the United States deployed atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The leaders attending the summit, including US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, were initially scheduled to travel to Australia for a Quad summit at the iconic Sydney Opera House. However, unforeseen circumstances arose when President Biden withdrew to concentrate on vital negotiations in Washington, prompting Albanese to cancel the Quad meeting.
Nonetheless, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains committed to the Sydney visit. Albanese shared during his Hiroshima press briefing that he will engage with the other three leaders from the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue on the sidelines of the G7 Summit. He also disclosed that he received an invitation to visit China, following Trade Minister Don Farrell’s recent trip and China’s subsequent decision to lift trade bans on Australian timber. Expressing enthusiasm for bilateral engagement with China, Albanese emphasized the importance of cooperation and respectful disagreement based on national interest.
Albanese reiterated his resolve to advocate for the removal of trade barriers impeding Australian exports, specifically mentioning the challenges faced by the wine and barley industries. Additionally, he announced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s attendance at the G7 Summit, expressing unwavering support for Ukraine and a commitment to further collaboration.
Throughout his stay in Japan, Albanese has scheduled bilateral meetings with Brazil and South Korea, underscoring the significance of fostering strong international relationships. On Saturday, he anticipates engaging in a range of additional bilateral discussions with prominent figures such as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown. Albanese also hopes to seize the opportunity to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to finalize negotiations for a groundbreaking free trade agreement between the European Union and Australia.
Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles expressed disappointment but understood the cancellation of the Quad summit, emphasizing that unforeseen circumstances can arise, even for the American President. Nonetheless, Marles highlighted the importance of the Quad as a vital regional structure and reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the partnership, assuring that another Quad meeting would be arranged in due course.
As President Biden and Prime Minister Albanese prepare to meet on the sidelines of the G7 Summit, one topic of discussion is Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS security pact. This issue is anticipated to take center stage in their conversation, further highlighting the significance of the bilateral engagement.
Albanese’s presence at the G7 Summit signifies Australia’s active participation and determination to foster international collaboration on key global challenges, ranging from nuclear non-proliferation to trade agreements and regional security. The outcomes of these discussions will undoubtedly shape the future of Australia’s diplomatic relations and its role in the international community.