It would also come at a time that other meetings take place on the sidelines of the General Assembly this week including a “Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP)” forum on Thursday.
Hosted by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the group aims to better coordinate assistance in the region in the face of competition from China. It was formed in June and includes the US, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Also today at the UN, new British Prime Minister Liz Truss condemned provocations over Taiwan during a meeting with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida, according to a Downing Street spokesperson.
“The leaders resolved to work together to tackle the strategic threat posed by China,” a statement said.
This week’s UN General Assembly is taking place after two years of virtual and hybrid summits thanks to the global pandemic.
But while COVID-19 has eased, the gathering of leaders nonetheless comes as the world faces a crisis on multiple fronts, from Russia’s war in Ukraine and economic uncertainty, to food insecurity and environmental degradation.
Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gave a dire assessment in his opening address where he said the world was “in peril and paralysed” and that nations were “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction”.
“The divergence between developed and developing countries, between North and South, between the privileged and the rest, is becoming more dangerous by the day,” he said. “It is at the root of the geopolitical tensions and lack of trust that poison every area of global cooperation, from vaccines to sanctions to trade.”
Speaking after a day of high-level meetings with counterparts from Ukraine, Indonesia, and Timor, Wong also acknowledged “the dreadful historic backdrop” to this year’s General Assembly, noting that the “the war in Europe has cast a shadow” over the proceedings.
To that end, UN members had much more work to do, she said, particularly on issues such as food security, climate change.
Wong will deliver Australia’s address to the UN General Assembly on Friday, after meeting with the foreign ministers of Quad nations, which include Australia, United States, India and Japan.
The Foreign Minister was joined in the US by Australia’s special envoy for reconciliation, Pat Dodson, who will host a roundtable of Indigenous representatives from other nations about how to achieve a First Nations foreign policy.
The pair will also open public expressions of interest for a First Nations ambassador, delivering on a promise made by Labor at the last election.
Biden will also make a later-than-usual appearance at the gathering on Wednesday, delayed by his return from Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in London. Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping are not attending, nor is Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Asked about a potential meeting on the sidelines with Wang, the foreign minister said: “I made it clear that we are open to engagement. I understand those arrangements are being finalised. And if they are finalised, then I’m sure that we will have productive engagement, but what I would say to you is our position – whether we are in the meeting or outside of the meeting – remains consistent in relation to Australia’s national interest.”
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