CANBERRA (Australia) -- Australia's prime Minister said Friday that they are in agreement in their policies towards the Pacific islands. This is where China's influence has grown.
Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister, was the first foreign leader ever to visit Prime Minister Anthony Albanese since his election on May 21. Both the centre-left governments and Ardern described Albanese Labor Party's victory after nearly a decade of opposition as a reset in bilateral relations.
Australia, New Zealand, and the United States expressed concern that a new Beijing security agreement with the Solomon Islands could lead to a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands. Both China and the Solomon Islands have denied that this will occur.
Albanese answered reporters in Sydney when asked if Australia wanted New Zealand to do more against China's rise.
Albanese stated, "I look forward working with Prime Minister Ardern and working with our democratic neighbours."
Albanese and Penny Wong, his Foreign Minister, flew to Tokyo shortly after being sworn in to office to meet with Joe Biden and Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, and Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister to discuss China's regional security threat.
Wang failed to implement a bold Chinese plan to convince 10 Pacific countries to support a new comprehensive agreement that would have covered all aspects of security and fisheries. He was able to sign several bilateral agreements.
Ardern stated that many countries have chosen to maintain economic relations with China over signing security agreements.
Ardern stated, "Let's hear the Pacific on those issues."
Albanese stated that Australia, the largest foreign aid donor to the region, was being considered seriously by its neighbours since his administration promised more action on greenhouse gas emissions. Many low-lying Pacific islands see climate change as their greatest and most urgent threat.
The previous government had pledged to reduce Australia's carbon emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Albanese's government promised a 43% reduction.
Ardern stated that Australia's higher ambitions encouraged New Zealand. New Zealand's goal for the next decade is 30%.
Ardern stated that the Pacific region has identified climate change as its top threat. "I am aware that New Zealand has a lot of work ahead of us, but Australia is welcome to join us on this journey."