- Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is in Cambodia for the ASEAN-Australia meeting and East Asia Summit.
- He is set to meet with Prime Minister Hun Sen and mark the 70th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relationship.
- Over nine days, Mr Albanese will attend four regional summits including the G20 summit and APEC meeting.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s trade and security muscle-flexing will be key issues for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese as he embarks on a nine-day overseas trip.
Peace, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific will also be front of mind as he hits the ground running in a series of meetings with his fellow world leaders.
The prime minister touched down in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh on Friday night to attend the East Asia Summit and an ASEAN-Australia meeting.
At the summit, Mr Albanese is expected to meet with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
The prime minister told reporters in Sydney the consequences of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine formed the backdrop of the summits.
“Not just for human rights and for the tragedies that are occurring on a day-by-day basis … but it’s having a global impact on the economy,” he said.
“Inflation is rising here in Australia, like around the world, as a direct result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the pressure that has put on global energy prices.
“Russia needs to get the message that it is isolated amongst those who support the international rule of law and it should withdraw.”
Mr Albanese is also expected to meet with the summit’s host Prime Minister Hun Sen and mark the 70th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relationship.
In the evening Mr Albanese will attend a gala hosted by his Cambodian counterpart.
He is also expected to meet with Vietnam Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Prime Minister of Laos Phankham Viphavanh in person for the first time.
Mr Albanese said food security, climate change and “strategic competition in the region” were important topics for discussion.
Work continues behind the scenes on seeking a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has not had a formal meeting with an Australian leader since Malcolm Turnbull in 2016.
“What I’ve said about China is that we want to cooperate where we can, but we will stand up for Australian values where we must,” Mr Albanese said.
“There isn’t a meeting at this stage locked in, but we obviously will be attending the same conferences … and I would welcome a meeting.”
Mr Albanese said China’s $20 billion in trade sanctions was impacting not only Australian exporters but the Chinese people.
“That is not in Australia’s interest in terms of our jobs and the economy, but it’s also not in China’s interest,” he said.
“I’m very hopeful we’ll continue to put our case that these sanctions are not justified, that they need to be removed.”
Mr Albanese will head to Bali on Monday for the G20 summit before attending the APEC meeting in Bangkok.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to take part virtually.
President Joe Biden will meet the Chinese president on Monday in Bali.