Australia

‘Not a government visit’: Anthony Albanese says he won’t be part of MPs’ trip to Taiwan

Key Points
  • A delegation of politicians including opposition members have headed to Taiwan.
  • Anthony Albanese isn’t taking part in the historic trip.
  • The PM told reporters he has “no idea” about its intention.
A delegation of federal MPs headed to Taiwan for a five-day de facto goodwill mission will make their trip without Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The prime minister says the group, which includes both government and opposition members of parliament and will arrive in Taiwan on Sunday, is more of a “backbench” visit rather than a Labor-led trip.

The delegation is the first of its type to visit Taiwan since 2019.

“There have been backbench visits to Taiwan for a long time. This is another one,” Mr Albanese told reporters in South Australia on Saturday.
“There remains a bipartisan position when it comes to China and when it comes to support for the status quo on Taiwan.
Asked about the travelling politicians’ intentions, the prime minister said: “I have no idea, I’m not going, you should ask them”.
The group includes former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce, a spokesperson for Mr Joyce confirmed on Saturday. Two Labor MPs are also said to be going.
The delegation will reportedly meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, with the visit having support from Taiwan’s foreign ministry.

The trip — reportedly kept secret to stop Chinese diplomats in Canberra lobbying for its cancellation — is said to include meetings on security, trade, agriculture and indigenous affairs.

The visit to democratic Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as Chinese territory, comes as the federal government has moved to repair its strained diplomatic relations with China.
Australia has clashed with China – its largest trading partner – over trade disputes and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic amid a growing Chinese presence in the Pacific.
Mr Albanese last month met President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia, raising expectations of closer bilateral ties.
Mr Albanese said the talks were “positive and constructive” and, while only the beginning, marked an “important step” in improving relations with the Asian superpower.
“We have big differences to manage, but we’re always going to be better off when we have dialogue and are able to talk constructively and respectfully but also honestly about what those differences are and we were able to do that this afternoon,” said Mr Albanese on Tuesday following the meeting.
Among the issues raised in the half-hour meeting was the detention of Australian citizens and .
Mr Albanese said he also “put forward the differences that we have on human rights issues”, including in China’s Xinjiang province, where Beijing has faced .
File source

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