WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump is set to host Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the White House on February 23 to “celebrate 100 years of mateship” according to a statement issued Thursday.
The pair held an infamously bad-tempered telephone call early on in Trump’s presidency, when the US leader reportedly exploded and hung up after he was told about a Barack Obama-era deal to move refugees from Australia to America.
But the affair appeared to have been smoothed over after Turnbull visited Trump for a patch-up summit in New York last May.
“President Trump looks forward to further enhancing our partnership and alliance, and demonstrating our shared commitment to the democratic values that underpin peace and prosperity around the world,” the statement said.
It added: “The President and Prime Minister will discuss a range of shared bilateral, regional, and global priorities, including fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth, and expanding security and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The leaders will celebrate 100 years of mateship through war, peace, and prosperity, charting the course for the coming century of partnership,” it continued, referencing an Australian idiom.
Despite outward bonhomie, the advent of Trump has invigorated a debate over Australia’s place in the world and whether its future lies with an unpredictable United States or a closer relationship with China, its top trading partner.
Several former senior Australian diplomats have urged Canberra to rethink ties with the United States in light of China’s rise. –AFP