U.S. President George W. Bush will leave for Australia to attend the summit meeting of the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to be held there, a senior White House official said Thursday.
"On Monday, President Bush will leave Washington and travel to Sydney, Australia, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders meeting," Dennis Wilder, National Security Council's senior director for Asian affairs, said at a briefing.
"This will also be the president's seventh trip to the Asia- Pacific region and his second visit to Australia," Wilder said, adding that Bush will meet with Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Wednesday.
Howard, who will chair the annual APEC forum in Sydney, has placed climate change at the top of the agenda for the Sept. 8-9 summit.
Australia has been a strong U.S. ally and there are some 2,500 Australian soldiers serving in peacekeeping operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.