The Australian Prime Minister spoke from New York on Wednesday morning following talks with US President Joe Biden.
“I am confident that we can avoid the conflict that we all want to avoid,” he told reporters.
“And I believe that includes not only Australia and the many countries in our region, and our friends across ASEAN, but I believe it extends to our partners in the Quad, Japan and India, as we will discuss next week, and no doubt China. 
“I’m encouraged by the President’s efforts in seeking that direct engagement and having that direct and honest engagement with China. We had the opportunity to discuss those issues today. 
“The president has a deep understanding of the Indo-Pacific. A very deep understanding. He’s been around this space for a very long time and he knows it intimately. That’s a great reassurance to our partner, to our partnership, that he understands these issues at this level. 
“And so, we are joined in this objective of peace. We’re joined in this objective of doing all we can to ensure that the stability that we can provide will deliver the peace that is necessary.”
Mr Morrison says he’s confident “we can avoid the conflict that we all want to avoid”. Picture: Getty Images
Relations between Australia and China have soured over the past year, after a turbulent 2020 saw mounting disputes over trade, human rights, and the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last week, the US, UK and Australia announced a security partnership – AUKUS – that seeks to strengthen the Indo-Pacific region as China’s military presence grows.
The alliance – seen as an effort to counter China’s influence – was quickly hit back with criticism, with China’s Washington embassy reacting to the pact by saying they should “shake off their Cold War mentality”.
Asked to comment on the new alliance, Chinese embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu told Reuters countries “should not build exclusionary blocks targeting or harming the interests of third parties.
“In particular, they should shake off their Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.”
‘Valuable opportunities’ to ‘canvas’ Australia’s priorities in the Indo-Pacific: Payne

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