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2 October: The Week in Australian Foreign Policy

02 Oct 2020
By Isabella Keith
Parliament House At Dusk, Canberra ACT Source: Thennicke

This week in Australian foreign affairs: Morrison’s address to the UN, home quarantine for select international arrivals on the horizon, Quad consultations with India, Japan, and the United States, and more.

On 26 September, Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed the UN General Assembly by video link. Morrison said there was a “moral responsibility for a [COVID-19] vaccine to be shared far and wide.” He also discussed the dangers of disinformation, stating that it “costs lives and creates a climate of fear and division.” He further touched on trade rules and the need to peacefully resolve disputes through dialogue, stating that “we won’t retreat into the downward spiral of protectionism in Australia.”

Morrison also sent a message to the United Nations’ 75th anniversary commemorative event on 21 September, paying tribute to “all who have served as a peacemaker, delivered aid, tended the sick, and contributed to the cause of peace anywhere in the world.”

Senior officials from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade met via videoconference with representatives from the foreign ministries of India, Japan, and the United States on 25 September for Quad consultations on the Indo-Pacific. The officials “agreed that their governments would remain committed to supporting Indo-Pacific countries in managing the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, [and] work together to chart a pathway toward economic recovery that helps all countries in the region enforce their own sovereignty and resilience.”

On 28 September, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds stated that a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft is being deployed on Operation ARGOS for the second time this year to enforce United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea. The Poseidon aircraft will operate out of Kadena Air Base in Japan and will conduct airborne surveillance to monitor and deter illegal shipments of sanctioned goods.

Reynolds noted on 29 September that the Royal Australian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy completed their bilateral Exercise SINGAROO in Southeast Asia, marking the exercise’s 25th year.

Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge delivered a speech to the Australian Chinese community on 25 September, noting that “while we value the relationship with China, the Australian Government will always act in the best interests of Australia – just as China acts in its interests.”

On 30 September, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong released a statement on the British government’s passage of its Internal Market Bill in the House of Commons. Wong noted that “the Australian Labor Party expects the UK to honour the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and uphold its commitments to its citizens and the people of Ireland.”

Isabella Keith is an intern at AIIA National Office.

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