Australian PM attends NATO talks in Spain

SYDNEY – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese flies to Spain to attend this year’s NATO meeting as leaders try to address the growing threat of global instability.

The Australian Prime Minister will join his colleagues from New Zealand, Japan and South Korea for the largest NATO summit ever.

While all four countries are not members of the world’s largest defense pact, they bring an Indo-Pacific perspective to global insecurity.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will be a major focus of the meeting in Madrid, Spain.

Analysts believe NATO will harden its stance on China over its refusal to condemn Russia for its war in Ukraine. Beijing is eager to strengthen its ties with Moscow, but also to maintain its relations with the West.

People in face masks walk across a pedestrian crossing in Beijing's Central Business District, June 24, 2022. People in face masks walk across a pedestrian crossing in Beijing's Central Business District, June 24, 2022.

Why NATO’s focus on China can persist

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanian Anthony Albanese is traveling to Europe for the first time since the government was formed in May.

He said it is crucial that democratic countries show solidarity with Ukraine.

FILE - Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attends the Quad Leaders Summit in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2022. FILE – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attends the Quad Leaders Summit in Tokyo, Japan, May 24, 2022.

“We live in an uncertain world and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the standards we thought would uphold the rule of law,” he said. “It is also the case that Russia and China, their arrangements and the proximity that has happened in recent times means that it is also of great importance for our region.”

Australia is keen to curtail China’s security and trade ambitions in the Pacific, a region Canberra traditionally considers its sphere of influence.

Over the weekend, Australia joined the US, Britain, New Zealand and Japan to launch an initiative to help countries in the Pacific.

The “Partners in Blue Pacific” project aims to help them fight problems from climate change to illegal fishing.

Analysts believe it also signals a united front between Australia and its allies to counter China’s regional ambitions.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea (PNG) butts right elbows with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Friday, June 3, 2022 . In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea (PNG) butts right elbows with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Friday, June 3, 2022 .

Australia intensifies diplomatic offensive against China in the Pacific

The “Partners in Blue Pacific” project aims to help them fight problems from climate change to illegal fishing.

Analysts believe it also signals a united front between Australia and its allies to counter China’s regional ambitions.

Relations between Canberra and Beijing have deteriorated in recent years due to geopolitical disputes such as human rights, democracy in Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

The recently elected government in Canberra has said restoring relations with China was a priority but would take time.

The NATO summit in Spain starts on June 29.