Prime Minister Scott Morrison touches down in New York ahead of Quad leaders’ summit

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has touched down in New York ahead of high-level talks with several world leaders.

The PM landed shortly after 8am AEST, with his first face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden first on the agenda.

Also on Morrison’s radar will be cooling tensions between Australia and France, after the submarine deal with France was axed in preference of the AUKUS deal.

Speaking on the tarmac at JFK International Airport, Morrison said it was “always going to be a difficult decision”.

“It would be naive to think that a decision of this nature was not going to cause disappointment, obviously, to the French,” he said.

“We understand that. We totally acknowledge that and we knew that that would be the case.

“It was not possible for us to be able to discuss such secure issues in relation to our dealings with other countries at that time.”

France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for the first time because of the deal, and its anger is showing few signs of subsiding.

Reports emerged overnight that Biden had requested a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Morrison said there was “not an opportunity” for a similar meeting with Macron.

“I’m sure that opportunity will come in time but, right now, I understand their disappointment and they are working through the consultations with their ambassador in returning to Paris,” he said.

“We will be patient with that and will engage with European leaders and importantly continue to engage with EU leaders.”

The Associated Press reports Biden is planning a call with Macron in the coming days.

He will underscore the US commitment to its alliance with France and lay out specific measures the two nations can take together in the Indo-Pacific.

The submarine deal, known as AUKUS, will see Australia cancel a contract to buy diesel-electric French submarines and instead acquire nuclear-powered vessels from the US.

The US, Australia and Britain say the deal bolsters their commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, and has widely been seen as a move to counter an increasingly assertive China.

Morrison will take part in the first face-to-face meeting of the Quad leaders’ summit – where th leaders of the US, Australia, Japan and India will come together.

A more assertive China flexing its diplomatic, trade and military muscle is a key driving force behind the Quad.