Scott Morrison is planning to visit Washington DC for an upcoming G7 summit, despite the devastating wave of coronavirus sweeping across the US.
The Prime Minister confirmed his intended travel plans on Monday while defending sending two senior ministers to the US for face-to-face talks with their American counterparts.
“I intend to visit Washington myself should the G7+ meeting go ahead,” Mr Morrison said in Sydney.
“These are important opportunities for Australia – it would be extraordinary if we didn’t seek to attend these meetings.
“Our alliance with the United States is the bedrock of Australia’s defence strategy, so it would be highly irregular for us not to seek to take every opportunity for those meetings to be held face-to-face.”
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Foreign Minister Marise Payne will hold a series of meetings with their US counterparts this week.
“This is a regular dialogue that we have with the United States and it’s a timely opportunity for us to be talking about the many issues that are involved in our partnership right now,” Mr Morrison said.
“And not just defence issues – in the foreign affairs space there are many issues that Australia has an active interest in at the moment and we are keen to pursue those with as many like-minded countries as we possibly can.”
US President Donald Trump invited Mr Morrison to attend September’s G7 summit earlier in 2020, originally planning to hold the meeting at Camp David in Maryland.
The US has recorded more than 1000 coronavirus deaths a day for the past five days as its national caseload nears 4.2 million. The nation’s death toll is approaching 150,000.