Next week I will hold important meetings with two of Australia’s closest friends in Tokyo on 17 – 18 November, and Port Moresby on 18 – 19 November.
This will be my first meeting with the new Prime Minister of Japan, His Excellency Mr Suga Yoshihide. I’m honoured to be the first foreign leader to visit Japan to meet with Prime Minister Suga following his appointment.
Our relationship with Japan over the past few years has gone from strength to strength. We are Special Strategic Partners, and we work closely together on trade, security, defence and technology issues. I look forward to continuing to deepen that partnership.
Japan will play an important role in our economic recovery from COVID-19. I hope we can chart a course for the re-opening of travel, and discuss ways to deepen our trade ties worth $86 billion, including under the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement.
On the way back to Australia I plan to take the opportunity to see my friend the Hon James Marape MP, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, our closest neighbour.
We will continue our discussions about advancing our many shared regional and global objectives, ahead of a formal bilateral visit I hope to make next year.
Australia, Japan and Papua New Guinea have managed the coronavirus incredibly well, and I am confident the precautions in place during this travel will minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
I will be strictly following health advice and quarantine requirements when I return to Australia, as will staff and officials accompanying me, RAAF attendants and pilots, and media.
I look forward to hearing from Prime Minister Suga and Prime Minister Marape about their experiences in responding to COVID-19 and discussing ways to work together towards a stable, peaceful and resilient Indo-Pacific.