Kishida not going to U.S., Australia for summit talks

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday he has given up on visiting the United States and Australia for in-person summit talks before the start of a regular parliamentary session in mid-January and will focus on the COVID-19 response at home instead.
Kishida said he had been seeking to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he aims to step up summit diplomacy this year.
"In light of the domestic and overseas spread of the novel coronavirus, I have decided not to make overseas trips before the regular Diet session this month," Kishida said in his New Year press conference.
Kishida's meetings with the two leaders have been in focus as he seeks to enhance the bilateral alliance with the United States and has voiced eagerness to conclude the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement.
The pact would enhance interoperability and collaboration between the armed forces of both countries amid China's growing military influence in Asia.

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