Australia’s new Prime Minister signaled Tuesday that he would resist growing Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region — seeming to dismiss Beijing’s hopeful comments upon his election and portending a growing closeness between the United States and Australia.

“We will determine our own values,” newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Tuesday, on the sidelines of a meeting of leaders of the Quad, an informal grouping of the United States, Japan, India and Australia. “We will determine Australia’s future direction. It’s China that’s changed, not Australia.”

He added that he had received a formal congratulatory note from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang but had not spoken to Beijing since his election win, three days earlier.

Also on Tuesday, the White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden “reaffirmed his steadfast support for the U.S.-Australia alliance and commitment to strengthening it further.”

Biden’s statement also alluded to China’s increased interest in the island of Taiwan, which Beijing says is part of China, saying that the U.S. president “commended Australia’s strong support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and the leaders agreed on the importance of continued solidarity, including to ensure that no such event is ever repeated in the Indo-Pacific.”

Albanese, a left-leaning politician from Australia’s Labor Party, pledged that if elected, he would deepen relations with the Quad and with the U.S. In his initial comments as prime minister, he described the U.S. as Australia’s “most important ally.”


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