Australia's prime minister said on Wednesday he is looking forward to meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump next month when they attend Battle of the Coral Sea commemorations in New York more than three months after their heated telephone conversation over an Obama-era refugee deal.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the May 4 visit in a statement after meeting in Afghanistan with Defense Secretary James Mattis and greeting Australian troops in the Middle East ahead of Veterans' Day commemorations on Tuesday.
Turnbull met in Sydney over the weekend with Vice President Mike Pence, whose visit was intended to smooth over any lingering hard feelings after the prime minister's contentious phone call with Trump on Jan. 28 over a refugee resettlement deal struck by the previous Obama administration.
Trump and Turnbull will mark the 75th anniversary of a World War II naval battle by visiting the USS Intrepid, a floating museum in New York.
U.S. & World
U.S. and Australian naval and air forces fought the Japanese during the Battle of the Coral Sea, fought May 4-8, 1942.
"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," Turnbull said in a statement.
"My meeting with President Trump will provide an opportunity to reaffirm our alliance and the United States' engagement with the Asia-Pacific," he added.
Australia is unhappy with Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
Under the refugee resettlement agreement, the United States will take up to 1,250 refugees that Australia houses in detention camps on the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Trump, who campaigned on tough-on-immigration policies, was enraged by the agreement, prompting a tense phone call with Turnbull and an angry tweet in which the president dubbed the deal "dumb."
White House spokesman Sean Spicer's subsequent mispronunciation of Turnbull's name as "Trumbull" did not help matters.
The fallout has left relations between the U.S. and Australia at their lowest point since the Vietnam War, when Australia's then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam criticized a series of bombings authorized by then-President Richard Nixon.
Turnbull on Tuesday left open the possibility of Australia increasing its military contribution in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
He also announced an additional 110 million Australian dollars ($83 million) over three years in humanitarian and stabilization assistance for Iraq.