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‘There is a lot at stake’: PM sounds warning ahead of G7 summit

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on world leaders to demonstrate that “liberal democracies work” in a speech ahead of the G7 summit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called on world leaders to demonstrate that "liberal democracies work" in a speech ahead of the G7 summit.

Mr Morrison will travel to the summit in the UK tomorrow but used a keynote speech today to call for the international community to counter economic coercion.

"There is a lot at stake, for Australia, for our region, and indeed for the world," he said at the Perth USAsia Centre.

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"We are living in a time of great uncertainty not seen, I believe, since the 1930s, outside of wartime."

He warned Australia's security environment had changed "significantly" in recent years.

"Accelerating trends are working against our interests," he said.

"The Indo-Pacific region, our region, is the epicentre of a new strategic competition.

"The risk of miscalculation and conflict are very present and growing."

Although he steered clear of direct references to China's actions in the South China Sea, Mr Morrison noted US President Joe Biden's strategic focus on the region.

On China specifically, Mr Morrison only said that all nations should participate in the global system.

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"Australia stands ready to engage in dialogue with all countries, on shared challenges, including China, when they are ready to do so with us," he said.

Mr Morrison stressed that while strategic competition between the US and China brought risks, it did not mean inevitable conflict.

"The task is to manage that competition. Competition does not have to lead to conflict. Nor does competition justify coercion," he said.

Mr Morrison will seek agreement from western allies to toughen institutions such as the World Trade Organisation at the summit.

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He said the G7 summit would provide an opportunity to begin WTO reforms, including establishing an appellate body which could impose penalties for "bad behaviour".

"In my discussions with many leaders, I have taken great encouragement from the support shown for Australia's preparedness to withstand economic coercion in recent times," he said.

"Where there are no consequences for coercive behaviour, there is little incentive for restraint."

Relations between Beijing and Canberra plummeted last year after Australia called for an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and introduced foreign interference legislation.

It triggered trade reprisals from China targeting Australian exports such as coal, barley, timber and seafood.

Souring relations between Canberra and Beijing have continued in recent months.

Last month the Chinese government announced it was suspending all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue.

After his speech, Mr Morrison will head to Singapore and on to the UK for the "G7 plus" summit with leaders from the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, South Korea and South Africa.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/scott-morrison-warns-on-china-trade-security-threats-ahead-of-summit/abb1f8bb-8d3e-4fa6-862f-80b5c2a5292d

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