PM calls out China coercion after trade ban movement
Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind a G7 statement calling out Chinese economic coercion just days after Beijing unwound trade restrictions for Australian timber.
The prime minister said he had been consistent in saying China's activity had provided cause for concern.
"What we need to do is to make sure that we work in a way that enhances peace, security and stability in the region," he told reporters in Japan on the sidelines of the G7 summit on Sunday.
The G7 nations released a statement expressing "serious concerns" about China's militarisation of the East and South China seas and called for a peaceful resolution over Beijing's claims of reunifying Taiwan.
The statement said the nations "oppose China's militarisation activities in the region", accusing Beijing of undermining the international order.
Mr Albanese said he supported the communique.
"On the China language, we have said for some time that China's activity ... has provided concern," he said.
"We expressed our concern in the past and we will continue to do so.
"We very clearly support the status quo when it comes to the Taiwan Strait and that is Australia's position and we are consistently stating that."
The prime minister said the G7 also welcomed Australia's improving relationship with China and the resumption of high level dialogue after Beijing announced it would strip bans on Australian timber imports this week.
"We are all working towards a peaceful and more secure region ... and people regard it as very positive that Australia is in dialogue with China," he said.
Mr Albanese said he intended to travel to China in the future, which was also welcomed by partner nations.
"We need dialogue to get understanding, you also need dialogue to avoid miscalculations," he said.
Speaking at a G7 session titled, Towards a Peaceful, Stable and Prosperous World, Mr Albanese said it was fitting the leaders met in Hiroshima, which still bore the scars of nuclear war.
"It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure the next chapter of history is one of global peace and prosperity and not one of conflict and hardship," he said.
"It is a stark reminder of what is at stake if we fail to uphold an international system that safeguards peace and security."
Mr Albanese told the session the Indo-Pacific was experiencing a rapid change that was heightening uncertainty and risk.
"There are many potential flashpoints in the region including in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, Taiwan Strait, the Korean Peninsula and the Himalayas," he said.
"The risks of miscalculation are real."
Beijing issued a stern rebuke to the G7 statement, saying it had interfered with its internal affairs, including over Taiwan.
Earlier in the week, China's ambassador to Australia said it was important to get the rhetoric over Taiwan right, with the self-governed nation already being a part of China.
"Unfortunately, some of the countries in the world are trying to mislead the public ... trying to say that Taiwan is a sovereign state and China's efforts is to annex or to take over by force," Xiao Qian said.
"On this so-called 'status quo', what is the status quo? Across the Taiwan Strait, both sides to one China, that is the status quo."