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Albo's $5 billion tech deal green light as world leaders hail 'competition, not conflict'


Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has landed in San Francisco ahead of the APEC leaders’ summit, as the Chinese and US presidents take centre stage.

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Partners in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum make up about 75 per cent of Australia’s total trade in goods and services.

The first event on the prime minister’s agenda will be a meeting with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, whose company has struck a deal with Australia to provide cloud computing, training and cyber security services worth around $5 billion.

Albanese is keen to discuss environmental and sustainability issues with other leaders, including how to collaborate to cut emissions and make the transition to renewable energy.

“Engagement with APEC partners is critical for seizing the opportunities to create the jobs of the future, to expand our economic growth, and to take advantage of our location – on the doorstep of the fastest growing region in human history,” he said.

The first day will include a welcome reception at San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum, along with US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Much of the attention at the summit is on a sideline meeting between Mr Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

“Planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed,” Mr Xi told Mr Biden.

The US president said: “I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader-to-leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunications. We have to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.”

The presidents and their respective aides on trade, the economy, national security and regional diplomacy gathered across from one another at a single long table, the culmination of negotiations between the two leaders’ top aides over the past several months.

It was the leaders’ first conversation of any kind since they met last November in Bali.

They’re seeking to build back to a stable baseline after already tense relations took a nosedive following the US downing of a Chinese spy balloon that had traversed the continental US, and amid differences over the self-ruled island of Taiwan, China’s hacking of a Biden official’s emails and other matters.

Mr Xi said the global economy was recovering but its momentum remained sluggish.

“For two large countries like China and the United States, turning their back on each other is not an option,” he said.

It was not up to the US to dictate how the Chinese managed their affairs, he said.

“It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other, and conflict and confrontation has unbearable consequences for both sides.”

With Reuters

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