Published: Sat, February 24, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

China is no threat to Aus, Turnbull says before visit to US

China is no threat to Aus, Turnbull says before visit to US

US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull traded compliments and declarations of enduring "mateship" at the White House Friday, striving to put an ill-tempered first phone call behind them. And he's offering an intriguing carrot: An offer to invest some of Australia's public pension assets in USA infrastructure.

"We have a big meeting set up in a little while and we have a luncheon set up also and we have all of our representatives surrounding us and a lot of good things will come out of this visit".

Mr Trump said he hopes to follow Australia with its tough "merit-based" immigration policies and announced the USA would name a new combat ship the USS Canberra.

"The relationship with have with Australia is a terrific relationship and probably stronger now than ever before, maybe because of our relationship, our friendship", Trump said.

It was not always so.

Trump, a harsh critic of China's trade policies, named US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris, known for his hawkish views on Beijing's military expansion, earlier this month as the next US ambassador to Australia.

Turnbull's visit to the White House followed tense interactions between the two leaders a year ago, when they clashed over a refugee swap deal.

"Thank you and Melania for your hospitality and friendship", Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull said it was the 100th anniversary of the World War I battle for Hamel in France where Australian and United States forces first fought together.

This year marks the centennial of the Battle of Hamel, on France's Western Front, when troops from both countries fought under Australian command.

"We have been fighting side-by-side in freedom's cause ever since", he said.

"So Mr Prime Minister, we very much appreciate you being here".

The pair have met since the infamous call, most notably in May aboard the Intrepid, moored in NY.

Turnbull's entourage, however, had one eye on events at home.

Australia's embattled deputy prime minister, under pressure over an extramarital affair, faced a call to step down as leader of his party on Thursday, the first such call from a member of the party, which is part of the ruling coalition.

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