Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomes ‘close friend’ Jacinda Ardern to Australia as couple meet for dinner ahead of talks
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Australia Thursday evening and met Anthony Albanese for a private dinner.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has arrived in Sydney, where she will have a private meal with Anthony Albanese.
After dinner on Thursday night, the couple will sit down for bilateral talks on Friday.
Ms. Ardern is the first foreign head of government to meet Mr. Albanese in Australia.
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“This is my first appointment with the Prime Minister. It will be a positive one,” she told the NZ Herald.
“We have made it clear with the incoming Prime Minister that these issues remain before us, regardless of who is in office. We want to make progress.”
Prime Minister Albanian took to Twitter to welcome his close friend to Australia – her first since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am so happy to welcome my good friend New Zealand Prime Minister @jacindaardern to Australia,” he wrote.
“Looking forward to catching up over dinner.
Before her departure, Ms. Ardern said the relationship between the two countries is “like family”.
“I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Albanian in person after our recent telephone conversations.
“I know it will be the first of many as New Zealand and Australia continue to work closely together in a world of increasing challenges.”
The New Zealand Prime Minister was previously in the United States, where she met President Joe Biden, and they discussed China’s presence in the Pacific.
Ms. Ardern reiterated her concerns about constructing a regional military base that would “fundamentally change the strategic balance of the region” while focusing on strengthening the security and defense relationship with Washington.
In particular, the US and New Zealand share concerns that the establishment of a continued military presence in the Pacific by a state that does not share our values or security interests would fundamentally alter the strategic balance of the region and raise concerns for the national security of our two countries,” a joint statement said.
Ms. Ardern stressed that New Zealand and the US lived in an “incredibly difficult international environment” during the two leaders’ “critical” meeting.
Beijing’s media outlet, The Global Times, hit back, suggesting that the two nations “disrupted China’s role in the region” and that the “changing rhetoric reflects both its neocolonial mindset and the growing pressures it cannot withstand.”.
The publication also argued that New Zealand joined Australia and the US, which are “parroting Western politicians” to “hype” a multilateral security and economic deal that has yet to be finalized.