Right. So the Foreign Minister will soon give what has been pitched as a major foreign policy speech in the @dfat building. Diplomats from every country have been invited. US Ambassador Arthur Culvahouse Jr is here, as well as China’s Deputy Head of Mission
Payne says Australia has “agency and influence” in the emerging era of strategic competition. She stresses the existing order is not static but says changes should be negotiated through discussion, not the use of power 2/
Payne stresses the importance of regional powers like Indonesia, Japan, India. Gently chides media and commentariat for focussing solely on the contest between the US and China. Says Australia has a vision for the region which is “open” and “inclusive” 3/
Payne runs through a familiar list of the government’s foreign policy investments and agreements- Pacific Step up, Southeast Asia mini Step up, infrastructure partnerships, trade deals, the Japan-Australia RAA, Thailand-Australia strategic partnership etc etc 4/
Payne announces new funding to help ensure flights continue in the Pacific during the pandemic. Doesn’t say how much money- will report back on this. This was going to be announced by the PM in PNG before the trip was cancelled due to political drama in POM 5/
Payne says Australia will provide vaccines to the region but stresses it will also give technical support to ensure distribution is swift and effective. So far, so predictable 6/
Payne - “the key to survival in 2020 has been cooperation.” She thanks the gathered diplomats for cooperation over the year. And ... that’s it. Payne concludes to polite applause 7/
So, in brief: a very sunny speech in the circumstances. Big emphasis on cooperation and multilateralism. No breaking news and not one mention of the elephant in the room. I don’t think I heard the word “China” pass the FM’s lips even once (will double check this) 8/

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More from @stephendziedzic

4 Dec
Thread. I briefly interviewed China's Deputy head of mission Wang Xining on his way out of the @MarisePayne speech. Some interesting elements. The Deputy suggested the PM over-reacted by responding so angrily to the tweet by @zlj517 1/ Image
When asked about the barrage of attacks on Australia in state media Wang Xining denies those outlets are "manipulated" by the state and suggests they just reflect the anger of Chinese people. Yes, the first claim is patently false (though the anger towards Aus might be real) 2/
When asked about the notorious "14 grievances" from the Chinese Embassy Wang Xining attacks the Australian media, saying the way the list was presented was a "media concoction." He says it is not a definitive list of demands, "just some examples of what we disagree with" 3/
Read 7 tweets
3 Sep
There's a hearing in Canberra on Australia-Pacific Island relations. Labor MP @JulianHillMP asks @dfat officials if they agree with this study, which estimates up to 1.2 million people in the Pacific could be pushed into extreme poverty by COVID-19 1/ abc.net.au/news/2020-04-0…
Grim. Officials from @dfat so that analysis is "pretty solid" and "realistic" although it will depend on how governments and donors respond to the crisis. 2/
Now @dfat is asked about the 300 million dollar loan Australia made to PNG. Officials confirm we have suspended repayments, with repayment of the principle delayed until 2024 3/
Read 15 tweets
2 Sep
The @dfat Secretary Frances Adamson and the @CDF_Aust are both speaking on "the nature and relationship of diplomacy and security" during the pandemic. Will live tweet. 1/
Adamson says covid-19 has catalysed a "re-think" of how the Department works 2/
Adamson runs through all the things @dfat has done during the pandemic, including sourcing ventilators and "vital supplies of personal protective equipment to keep Australians safe: 30 million gloves, 1 million pairs of goggles, and 200,000 surgical gowns" 3/
Read 9 tweets
27 Aug
Right. I'm going to live tweet (slightly delayed) the address by Taiwan's President @iingwen to @ASPI_org Should be interesting! 1/
Tsai says the relationship between Taiwan and Australia has grown closer. Both are pursuing "an increased number of issues and opportunities" in education, trade, security, science 2/
Interesting. Tsai says Australia and Taiwan helped each other deal with #Covid She says Australia "graciously offered" Taiwan one million litres of alcohol to make hand sanitiser. Taiwan supplied Australia with three tons of "the key raw material for surgical mask production" 3/
Read 8 tweets
26 Aug
I'm at the @PressClubAust for the keenly awaited speech from the Chinese Embassy's deputy head of mission, Wang Xining. Will be live tweeting.
Wang Xining opens by describing the rapid growth of Australia-China trade ties. He says in the last 20
years "our trade volume has grown from less than 10 billion to 235 billion Australian dollars last year" 2/
Wang acknowledges a "rift" between Australia and China. He says like a marriage, a bilateral relationship needs
"determination and joint effort to make it thrive." He adds: "while a rift between husband and wife hurts one family, a rift between two countries hurts millions" 3/
Read 25 tweets
2 Jul
Thread. Australia's defence minister @lindareynoldswa is taking questions at @ASPI_org after giving a speech on the government's new defence strategy. She says Australia is willing to do more "heavy lifting" in the region by boosting its capabilities 1/
Reynolds says the post World War II order has collapsed. "The world that we grew up in is no more" she says. The consequences of this are profound 2/
The Defence Minister bats away a question on whether the US is now a less reliable partner in Asia - "No. The US is still the bedrock of peace and security in the region." But she says the balance of power has undeniably shifted 3/
Read 8 tweets

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