'It's extraordinary': Joe Biden praises Anthony Albanese at Quad summit
US President Joe Biden has warmly welcomed Australia's new prime minister Anthony Albanese while in Japan for the Quad Summit, just days after the election.
Shortly after being sworn in on Monday as Australia's 31st Prime Minister, Mr Albanese headed to Tokyo for the summit, where he met with leaders from Japan, India and the US.
Mr Albanese was welcomed and congratulated by his peers at the meeting, with Mr Biden acknowledging the new prime minister's busy schedule since winning office on the weekend.
"Prime Minister Albanese, I welcome you to your first Quad meeting. Like I said, you got sworn in, got on a plane and if you fall asleep while you're here, it's okay," he joked.
There was laughter in the room as Mr Albanese beamed.
"Because I don't know how you're doing it! It's really quite extraordinary just getting off the campaign trail as well. Congratulations on your election."
Mr Biden said the Quad leaders appreciated Mr Albanese making the trip to Tokyo so soon after claiming victory on Saturday night.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Mr Albanese at the summit.
"My heartfelt congratulations to you on your electoral victory," he said.
"Your being here with us within just 24 hours of your swearing-in demonstrates the strength of our friendship within the Quad and your commitment to it."
Australia will stand with like-minded allies under Mr Albanese's watch, he said and he will ensure Australia puts a renewed focus on Indo-Pacific and Southeast Asia.
"Our cooperation is built on the values that we share — a commitment to representative democracy, the rule of law and the right to live in peace," he said.
"We will stand firm on our values and our beliefs, on what we know will enhance the prosperity and stability of our region and what is firmly in the interests of all those who call the Indo-Pacific home."
When he had the floor, Mr Albanese told Mr Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Mr Modi, his government's priorities align with the Quad's agenda.
"As we gather today, I acknowledge all that the Quad has achieved," he said in his opening remarks.
"Standing together for a free, open, and resilient Indo-Pacific region, and working together to tackle the biggest challenges of our time, including climate change and the security of our region."
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Seeking to differentiate himself from his predecessor Scott Morrison on climate change, Mr Albanese said he would act "in recognition" that climate change was the main threat to island countries in the Pacific.
He said Australia would bring more energy and resources to the Pacific region.
Russia's war in Ukraine was also mentioned during the opening remarks.
"We're navigating a dark hour in our shared history. The Russian brutal war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe," Mr Biden said.
"The fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law, human rights, must always be defended, regardless where they're violated in the world."
On Monday, Australia, alongside the US, Japan and others condemned Russia in a joint statement.
However, the official Quad communique is unlikely to feature a condemnation over the invasion, as India has refused to outright condemn Russia due to its close military trade with the Kremlin.
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