JULIE BISHOP TO RE­CALL ALL AM­BAS­SADORS

New Straits Times - - World -

Aus­tralia will call home all of its am­bas­sadors for a meet­ing, For­eign Min­is­ter Julie Bishop said yes­ter­day, as it re­shapes its for­eign pol­icy to bal­ance ties with long-time ally United States and China, its largest trad­ing part­ner.

It is the first time Aus­tralia is bring­ing to­gether all of its top diplo­mats from their 113 mis­sions around the world.

The aim is to draw up a “white pa­per” to guide Aus­tralian diplo­macy for the next decade, the first doc­u­ment of its kind since 2003.

“At a time of sig­nif­i­cant global un­cer­tainty, it is vi­tal that Aus­tralia har­ness the ex­pe­ri­ence and in­tel­lect of our most se­nior diplo­mats,” Bishop said.

She said the meet­ing later this month would fo­cus on a broad re­set of Aus­tralia’s ap­proach to in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and trade.

Aus­tralia’s re­la­tions with China have been strained re­cently by a push­back against for­eign in­vest­ment by an in­creas­ingly con­ser­va­tive Par­lia­ment in Can­berra.

It also hit a low point in its re­la­tion­ship with the US af­ter a ran­corous phone call be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, dur­ing which the pair clashed over a planned refugee swap.

The am­bas­sadors will meet in Can­berra for two days with Turn­bull, Bishop, and Trade Min­is­ter Steven Ciobo, with the white pa­per sched­uled to be de­liv­ered around the mid­dle of the year.

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