PM wraps regional tour with optimism

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is completing his tour of Southeast Asia with a pledge to take Australia's relationship with China forward.

Mr Albanese was the first Australian leader in six years to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but said he wasn't getting ahead of himself when it came to solving challenges in the relationship.

Mr Albanese said he was committed to continue taking steps with Mr Xi and the meeting was the first one.

"In today's globalised world the challenges can't just be dealt with nation states acting alone. We need to have cooperation," he told reporters in Bangkok.

"That is what we've seen the shoots of over the last week ... (and) I leave these meetings with optimism."

But Australia's criticism of North Korea - a close ally of China's - and questions about Taiwan's entry into a significant trading bloc could derail Mr Albanese's hope for better international relations.

China's $20 billion of sanctions on Australia, detention of Australian citizens and relationship with Russia continue to be points of tension.

On Friday he signalled Australia would be unlikely to support Taiwan's entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The CPTPP is a regional trade arrangement made up of 11 countries around the Pacific, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan.

Asked if he would like to see Taiwan join the agreement, Mr Albanese said it was "a relationship between nation states that are recognised".

Yet Taiwan's ministry of foreign affairs said the Australian government had since clarified that the stance on the nation's ability to join the partnership had not changed.

"(Australia) continues to welcome the entry of all economies that meet the high standard of the CPTPP, including Taiwan," spokesperson Joanne Ou said.

Mr Albanese told reporters on Saturday applications to join the trade group are dealt with by consensus of the nations already part of the agreement.

Mr Albanese also took part in a meeting called by US Vice President Kamala Harris to condemn North Korea's firing of a ballistic missile.

He joined leaders from, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea to call for the United Nations Security Council to have an emergency meeting on the matter.

"There is no place for the actions of the North Korean state. This is a rogue state that is endangering regional security," he said.

The prime minister talked with leaders from around the world and said Australia was being taken seriously because of his government's commitment on climate action.

"I've sought to ... send a message that Australia wants to engage constructively, to work with our partners in the region and indeed throughout the world," he said.

"I believe Australia has achieved some significant steps ... we have re-engaged."

But the highlight of his first summit season as prime minister wasn't progressing trade deals with Europe and India or joining leaders to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It was the release of Australian economist Sean Turnell from a Myanmar prison where he'd been held for 650 days.

Professor Turnell was arrested in early 2021 after Myanmar's military junta seized power but was reunited with his family on Friday.

The prime minister reiterated his thanks to leaders of Southeast Asian nations who advocated on behalf of Australia for Prof Turnell's release.

"We have made a hard stance against the human rights abuses in Myanmar ... Australia will always stand up for our values," he said.

Mr Albanese has spent the past eight days at the ASEAN summit in Cambodia, the G20 in Bali and APEC in Bangkok and will depart for Australia on Saturday afternoon.