Anthony Albanese tells Joko Widodo he will go to the G20 in Indonesia despite Russia’s attendance | Anthony Albanese

Anthony Albanese has confirmed Australia will attend the G20 meeting in Bali in November despite Russia’s controversial attendance at the summit. The prime minister also pledges to assist Indonesia as host of the leader’s meeting.

With some world leaders signaling they may not attend the event if Russia comes, Indonesia, as the summit host, has arranged for the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to make a virtual appearance.

On Monday, Albanese told his host, the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, that Australia would come to Bali in November because the G20 “is critical at this time of global economic uncertainty, and it will be by working with Indonesia that we most effectively tackle the many challenges we face in navigating the post-Covid global economic recovery”.

Asked why he was prepared to come to Bali when his predecessor Scott Morrison had characterized attending as a step too far, the prime minister told reporters he was focused on supporting the Indonesian president, not on Vladimir Putin and his “abhorrent” actions.

Confirmation of Australia’s attendance at the G20 followed the first official meeting between the pair at Bogor Palace in Jakarta, which included a bike ride in the palace gardens. Albanese was afforded a ceremonial welcome, and the two leaders discussed the war in Ukraine, regional cooperation, and growing strategic competition in the region – meaning China’s increasingly assertive posture in the Indo-Pacific, which is the backdrop to the new Labor government’s accelerated diplomatic outreach across the region.

In an explicit reference to regional tensions, the Indonesian president told reporters strategic competition “must be well managed to avoid open conflict” and international laws needed to be “followed consistently”.

Widodo said Indonesia’s consistent position was a strong relationship with Australia would “contribute to peace and prosperity in the region”.

Anthony Albanese

Indonesia has previously expressed concern about an escalating arms race in the region and has been concerned about Australia’s commitment to the Aukus submarine partnership.

Albanese said that when it came to managing the China threat, Australia and Indonesia were independent countries with independent foreign policies. But he said he was struck in the conversations on Monday about the similarities between the two approaches.

The Australian prime minister said since coming to the government two weeks ago; he had stressed the importance of competition without catastrophe – which is a formulation adopted by the Biden administration. He said Australia’s position was influenced by its historic alliance with the United States – our most important security partner.

Albanese said a priority for the new Labor government in Canberra was deepening connections with Jakarta and Southeast Asia, with “Asean‑led institutions … at the center of our vision for the Indo-Pacific”.

Australia’s prime minister said his government planned to deliver an additional $470m over four years in aid and development assistance in south-east Asia and appoint a dedicated high-level roving regional envoy.

He also flagged more defense cooperation with Indonesia.

Albanese said he saw the economic partnership with Indonesia as an economic opportunity for the two countries. Australia’s prime minister said revitalizing trade and investment was critical, and he planned to talk to Australia’s superannuation funds about beneficial investment in the region.

Albanese has been using his government’s more ambitious climate policy as a point of entry diplomatically into the region. On Monday, the prime minister emphasized bilateral partnership on climate change.

“True to my government’s ambitious climate targets, I want better access to affordable, reliable, and secure clean energy across our region as we transition to a net zero world together,” Albanese said.

Albanese characterized Widodo’s planned capital, Nusantara, as “an incredibly exciting prospect – a nation‑building project signaling where Indonesia’s headed. I’m pleased to offer Australian technical expertise to help you plan a clean, green, hi-tech city”.

Widodo first announced the plan to move Indonesia’s capital in 2019 to relieve Jakarta’s huge environmental challenges and redistribute wealth.

The Indonesian president welcomed the Albanese government’s $200m commitment to pursuing bilateral cooperation on energy and climate change and new investments from Sun Cable and Fortescue Metals.

But he said he wanted Australia to expand market access for high-value-added Indonesian imports, including in the automotive sector. The Indonesian president also wanted more opportunities for Indonesians to work in Australia.

Widodo said Indonesia would also seek opportunities to improve food security in the face of ongoing global supply disruptions created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.