Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will hold his first meeting with President Donald Trump, when the two leaders visit New York City next week, the White House has revealed.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said President Trump will return to his hometown on Thursday, May 4, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of World War II’s Battle of the Coral Sea, in which both Australian and US forces fought the Japanese army.
Mr Spicer said the president would speak on board the USS Intrepid – a decommissioned World War II aircraft carrier that survived torpedo and kamikaze attacks, which is now permanently berthed in New York as part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Mr Trump will then hold talks with the Australian prime minister.
“The President looks forward to meeting the Prime Minister and showcasing the enduring bonds, deep friendship and close alliance the US has with Australia,” Mr Spicer said.
Fairfax revealed in February that planning was underway for the meeting. The meeting is scheduled to be held just a week before the government hands down its budget, and there were early concerns among some Australian government advisers that the trip was too close to the timing of the federal budget.
The event will mark the first official meeting between the two leaders.
The first phone call between Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull made headlines in February when it was revealed the president had berated the Australian leader over a refugee swap deal, complained the call was his “worst call so far” with any international leader, and bragged about his own electoral victory.
In a statement released early on Wednesday morning, several hours after Mr Spicer announcement, Mr Turnbull welcomed the historic meeting and talked up the relationship between the two countries.
“I’m delighted to travel to the United States next month to meet with President Donald J Trump and to attend the 75th Battle of the Coral Sea commemorations in New York,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Australia and the United States are enduring allies. Our alliance has been forged over many decades, through times of war and times of peace, securing our nations’ freedom and peace and security in the world.
“Next year will be one hundred years since Australian and American troops first fought side by side at the Battle of Hamel. In the century since, our nations have become the closest allies, partners and friends united by shared democratic values and millions of people-to-people links.”
On Sunday and Monday, Mr Turnbull made a surprise visit to Australian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, meeting with US Defence Secretary James Mattis in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
During that visit, Mr Turnbull said, he and General Mattis discussed “the future of the region”. He expected the meeting would “provide an opportunity to reaffirm our alliance and the United States’ engagement with the Asia-Pacific”.
It’s understood North Korea will be high on the list of topics for the two leaders.
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