Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Questions without Notice

ASEAN-Australia Summit, East Asia Summit

2:06 pm

Photo of Penny WongPenny Wong (SA, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Foreign Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you very much. I appreciate the question from Senator Smith and her engagement on so many matters, including on her interest in international matters and, like all of us, how it is that Australia navigates these very challenging strategic times to ensure peace, stability and prosperity. Last week, I did join the Prime Minister at the successful ASEAN related summits. Of course, this includes, principally, at leaders' level, the East Asia Summit where, regrettably, Russia has been a spoiler. Last year, people might recall, Russia prevented agreement on a leaders' statement. Once again, this year, they sought to undermine these efforts.

Can I perhaps speak briefly about why the East Asia Summit is so important to Australia. We share an interest with ASEAN and the other members of the EAS in ensuring that this summit, which is such an important security forum for our region, operates effectively. We played an active role in overcoming Russia's efforts and securing a negotiated East Asia Summit leaders' statement.

We also supported an additional strong chair statement by Indonesia that demanded Russia's complete and unconditional withdrawal from Ukraine. That statement recognised the need for all East Asia Summit participating countries to promote open channels of communication to reduce risks of misunderstanding and miscalculation, and to prevent conflict in our region. Those who have been paying attention will recognise that those channels are the kinds of guardrails for practical conflict prevention that the Albanese government has been calling for. In Jakarta, the Prime Minister also notes the South-East Asia economic strategy to 2040, as developed by Nicholas Moore. The strategy maps out trade and investment opportunities in the region, which is, of course, a part of how we ensure we reduce reliance on any single trading partner.


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