Scott Morrison in United States after agreement on submarines to meet with leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the United States for a week of high-stakes diplomacy amid a row with France over canceling a $ 90 billion submarine contract to invest in instead a nuclear powered fleet.
Mr. Morrison will spend 24 hours in New York, on the sidelines of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he will meet with representatives from several countries and meet one-on-one with US President Joe Biden.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Special Climate Envoy John Kerry and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne will also join the meeting.
The submarine deal – which involves leveraging US technology to build a fleet of nuclear-powered ships – is expected to be discussed alongside China’s rise to power, the next steps in the fight against terrorism. global and climate change.
Mr Morrison will also meet with European leaders on Tuesday to discuss growing security threats in the Indo-Pacific. He will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Washington DC in the evening.
Biden will deliver his address to the UNGA with a strong emphasis on strengthening US alliances, especially now that the country has withdrawn from Afghanistan.
While Mr. Morrison’s speech will air on Friday, the main purpose of his trip is the meeting of the Quad Nations which includes the United States, Japan, India and Australia, in Washington on Friday.
The White House positions the power bloc of democracies as essential for pandemic and climate cooperation, as well as its counterforce against China.
Last week’s nuclear submarine deal – signed between Australia, the UK and the US as part of a trilateral security pact and which derailed relations with France – will feature prominently in next week’s discussions.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the decision a “stab in the back” and President Emmanuel Macron responded by withdrawing the French ambassadors in Canberra and Washington.
The foray into nuclear-powered ships also thrilled allies in Asia, fearing it would fuel tensions in the region, especially with Beijing, which reacted angrily to the news.
Mr Morrison telephoned Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo in flight over the Pacific to explain the decision and stressed that the ships would not be armed with nuclear weapons.
The Prime Minister told Widodo that Australia will maintain its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
What else is there about the role of the General Assembly?
The UNGA is expected to discuss ways to tackle COVID-19, the chaotic withdrawal of the West from Afghanistan, tensions with Iran and North Korea, as well as the growing rivalry between the United States and the United States. China.
It is also seen as the last opportunity to make global commitments ahead of the November UN World Climate Summit in Glasgow.
Mr Morrison is expected to face pressure to step up his emissions reduction plan, with his target lagging significantly behind that of other world leaders, including the US and UK.
Australia’s medium-term target is a 26-28% reduction from 2005 emissions levels by 2030, well below the Biden administration’s commitment to halve emissions within that time frame, while the UK aims to cut the figures by 68%.
Senior officials in the Biden administration have publicly criticized Australia’s lack of ambition on climate action in recent months.
In February, Kerry acknowledged the “differences” between the United States and Australia in tackling climate change while calling for a faster exit from coal-fired power plants.