‘Don’t bend to China’: Lambie warns PM

by The New Daily

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Independent senator Jacqui Lambie has urged the Prime Minister not to “bend to China”, as speculation mounts of a historic meeting in Bali.

Senator Lambie’s instructions came as Anthony Albanese flew from Cambodia to Bali on Monday afternoon, amid ongoing speculation about whether he will have a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders’ summit.

“I don’t trust the Chinese. I’ve made that quite clear,” Senator Lambie told the Nine Network on Monday.

“I’m really not sure what’s going to come out of this. If they can lift the trade sanctions that would be a good start.

“Let’s see how willing China is or how much more they would like us to bend over to them.

“Australia shouldn’t have to bend to China. I don’t want to see that going on.”

Mr Albanese will land in Bali on Monday night (AEDT) ahead of the G20 summit following a weekend in Phnom Penh for the East Asia and ASEAN summits.

Mr Xi has already confirmed a meeting in Bali with US President Joe Biden.

But questions remain about any meeting with Mr Albanese. If Mr Xi and the PM do talk, it will be the first time in six years leaders of the two countries have got together.

Ahead of Mr Albanese’s flight, Trade Minister Don Farrell said the PM would tell the Chinese president that removing $20 billion in trade barriers would be crucial for the relationship between Canberra and Beijing returning back to normal.

Senator Farrell said while Chinese duties on barley and wine were being formally challenged through the World Trade Organisation system, Australia was open to discussing “possible off-ramps” to get a mutually agreed solution.

In a keynote speech ahead of the G20, Senator Farrell said Australia needed to diversify its trade relationships, with the geostrategic case for a European Union free trade deal having strengthened.

“Increasingly, economic policy and national security policy are intertwined – a resilient Australian economy underpins national security,” he told the RMIT APEC Study Centre.

“It is no longer possible, if it ever was, to insulate our trade policy from geopolitics.”

In Cambodia, Mr Albanese met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Saturday. In comments reported by Chinese state media, Mr Li said China was “ready to meet Australia halfway, and work with Australia to seize the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations to promote sustained, sound and steady growth of China-Australia relations”.

Also in Cambodia, Mr Albanese met US President Joe Biden on the final day of the Cambodian summit. In a 40-minute catch-up, they discussed security deals, the climate and engagement with the Pacific.

But Mr Albanese would not reveal if Mr Biden gave him any clues about what he planned to discuss with Mr Xi.

“President Biden can speak for himself and I’ll speak for myself on the terms in which Australia engages,” he said in Phnom Penh

“[Australia] will engage constructively in dialogue with the countries that wish to engage with us.

“I’ve said that we should co-operate with China where we can and that’s what we’re doing.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has invited Mr Albanese to give a keynote speech at the B20 meeting, which brings together business and political leaders from the world’s strongest economies.

Global recovery from the COVID pandemic and taming inflation impacting economies will be key themes of his speech.

Mr Albanese will make a pitch to world leaders to work together in all nations’ interests by reducing tariff obstructions and increasing trade agreements.

“We can achieve far more together than we ever will alone,” he will say.

“Recovering stronger depends on recovering together.”

Tackling climate change will also feature heavily during the summit.

Mr Albanese will urge governments and businesses to invest in clean energy sources and spruik Australia’s role in the global transition to renewables.

“We know Australia can be a renewable energy superpower and we are working to grow our clean energy export industry,” he will say.

“We are committed to co-operating with other nations to help reduce their emissions, grow their economies and improve living standards.”

Leaders will also discuss global food insecurity, worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the global response to pandemics.

-with AAP