Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during an event. File photo
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday departed to the United States for the first face-face meeting of the Quad Leaders Summit..
Morrison boarded a Royal Australian Airforce plane at Sydney Airport to meet with leaders of the Quad grouping amid criticism over his government's decision to abandon a $40 billion submarine deal with France.
Australia last week said it would scrap a deal with France's Naval Group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and would instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with US and British technology after striking a trilateral security partnership.
The White House meeting of the leaders of the US, Australia, India and Japan comes to discuss COVID-19, climate change and regional security, senior Morrison government official said to the media.
Scott Morrison boards a Royal Australian Airforce plane to make a trip to the US in Sydney on Monday. Reuters
France has said the relationship with Australia and the United States is in "crisis" and has recalled its ambassadors from both countries.
While Australia has moved to dampen tensions, expressing its regret over the incident, Morrison's meeting with fellow Quad leaders British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden threatens to inflame French irritation.
"The French are very unimpressed and the sight of Morrison, Biden and Johnson together will do little to repair ties," said Haydon Manning, a political science professor at Flinders University in South Australia.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will also attend the leaders’ meeting of the Quad group later this week.
Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Tuesday at a meeting with the US and other diplomats that their “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” initiative, a concept to counter China’s growing assertiveness, is more important than ever
US and Indian trade negotiators ended talks on Friday without making major progress on a range of disputes over tariffs and other protectionist measures imposed by both sides that are straining bilateral ties,
As optimism grows that the United States and China are nearing a trade deal, Japan kicks off its own negotiations with Washington from Monday, hoping to resolve some of the issues «very quickly.» US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japan›s Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi
Saudi Arabia last week halted flights from seven southern African countries, mirroring similar moves by other government, but travel links with North Africa have remained unaffected.
The decision, entitled "The World Together", was adopted by consensus at a special assembly of the 194 nations that are members of the UN health body, drawing applause at the end of a three-day meeting.
An overloaded boat carrying 42 passengers, mostly children aged eight to 15, capsized late on Tuesday in northwest Nigeria's Kano state, a rescue agency spokesman said.