JULIE BISHOP TO RECALL ALL AMBASSADORS
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.