Mike Pence (R) and the Australian opposition leader, Bill Shorten, meet in Sydney on April 22.
Mike Pence (R) and the Australian opposition leader, Bill Shorten, meet in Sydney on April 22.

Pence Embraces US-Australia Partnership

Pence Embraces US-Australia Partnership

US Vice President Mike Pence and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull swept aside any lingering tensions on Saturday over an Obama-era agreement on the resettlement of refugees, joining forces to urge China to take a greater role in pressuring North Korea to scuttle its nuclear weapons and missile program.
Pence and Turnbull repeatedly praised the decades-long American-Australian alliance following a meeting in Sydney, with the vice president passing along US President Donald Trump’s “very best regards” and thanking Turnbull for calling on Beijing to be more assertive in the international effort to de-escalate Pyongyang’s nuclear threat, AP reported.
The two leaders appeared at pains to present a united front following an unusual period of strain between the longtime allies. The anxieties were sparked by a spat between Turnbull and Trump over a refugee resettlement deal struck by former president, Barack Obama.
Pence said on Saturday the US would honor the agreement even if the administration did not agree with it. Under the deal, the US would take up to 1,250 refugees housed by Australia in detention camps on the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
The prime minister said “whatever the reservations of the president are,” the decision “speaks volumes for the commitment, the integrity of President Trump, and your administration, sir, to honor that commitment.”
A majority of Australians view Trump unfavorably and some of his critics have urged Australia to distance itself from the US in favor of stronger ties with China.
Turnbull has resisted pressure to choose between the two countries, both of which are considered vital allies; the US is Australia’s most important security partner, while China is its most important trading partner.
Pence said his trip to Australia during the administration’s first three months in office and Trump’s plans to travel to Asia next fall represented “a strong sign of our enduring commitment to the historic alliance between the people of the United States of America and the people of Australia.”
Pence and Turnbull said they were aligned in their opinion that China should use its leverage with North Korea to de-escalate the nuclear threat from Pyongyang.
“The US believes that it will be possible to achieve its objective of ending North Korea’s nuclear program peacefully, largely with the help of China,” Pence said.


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