Australia

Scott Morrison looks forward to meeting Boris Johnson at G7 summit

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Hanoi, Vietnam ahead of his trip to the G7 summit. Source: AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is looking forward to meeting new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

Scott Morrison anticipates mixing a bit of cricket banter with serious strategic discussions beside the beaches of Biarritz.

The prime minister heads to the French surfing capital on Saturday, where Australia has been invited to take part in the G7.

While Australia's observer status at the summit means Mr Morrison will only take part in two of the formal sessions and a leaders dinner at the two-day event, he will use the chance to meet again with some of the biggest countries in the world.

The G7 comprises France, Germany, Britain, Italy, the United States, Canada and Japan.

French President Emmanuel Macron is shaking up the format this year, inviting four democracies with regional influence, including Australia, and four African countries to join particular sessions.

Mr Morrison is looking forward to his first in-person meeting with new British prime minister Boris Johnson, after speaking on the phone several times over the month since his elevation.

"I've met him before and we have spoken many times but this is a good opportunity, particularly given the announcements I have made this week regarding our involvement in the multinational force in the Straits of Hormuz," Mr Morrison told reporters in Vietnam, where he stopped to hold trade talks on his way to France.

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23 August: Boris Johnson heads to Paris for talks with French PM about Brexit
23 August: Boris Johnson heads to Paris for talks with French PM about Brexit

"I suspect I will give Boris a hard time over the cricket and he would try to do the same with me, too. That is the nature of the relationship.

"And I suspect the prime minister of India would take a shot at both of us on that front."

He's anticipating also meeting US President Donald Trump - who has invited Mr Morrison to a state dinner at the White House in September - and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"India plays a very important part in this region of the world and increasingly becoming an even more important part both strategically and economically for Australia and we share a common outlook as well on many things," he said.

Mr Morrison will take part in special sessions on the digital transformation and climate, biodiversity and oceans.

In the former, he is expected to build on his G20 victory in convincing all members of that forum to crack down on violent extremist material online and on social media.

Mr Macron hopes to have the G7 leaders and invited countries sign up to a charter for an open, free and safe internet that outlines ways to fight hate speech, cyberbullying and online terrorism.

Major digital stakeholders will sign the charter in Paris on Friday.

And the summit is proving a magnet for protesters.

Large protests are anticipated for Sunday around the region, with reports of anti-capitalists, climate activists, pro-refugee supporters and the "yellow vest" movement planning demonstrations.

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