SYDNEY – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to travel to Japan to meet the country’s newly elected Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as early as November, Australian media reported on Tuesday.
The visit aims to strengthen strategic cooperation between the two countries in the face of China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, The Australian reported.
The meeting could be postponed to January 2021 if the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic worsens or if Suga decides to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election before his planned visit, according to the newspaper.
The visit will be Morrison’s first overseas trip since the pandemic and he will likely be forced to self-quarantine for two weeks upon his return, he reported.
The two are expected to continue talks about a visiting forces agreement that would provide legal status for members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the Australian Army in joint exercises on their respective lands, among others.
In a virtual meeting on July 9, Morrison and Suga’s predecessor Shinzo Abe agreed to hold a summit meeting in Tokyo in the near future.
On Sunday, Suga had a phone conversation with Morrison, the first head of government he has spoken to since taking office on September 16.
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