Pence embraces US-Australia partnership after Trump spat


Vice President Mike Pence sought to reassure Australia on Saturday that the USA remains committed to the countries' longtime alliance, as he tried to patch up relations that were left frayed when President Donald Trump got into a spat with Australia's leader over a refugee resettlement deal.

In meetings with his counterparts, Pence frequently passed along "greetings" from Trump and told his hosts how much America valued their alliance, language that's commonplace in diplomacy but understated compared to the more free-wheeling Trump.

US Vice President Mike Pence pats a red kangaroo during a visit to Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney.

Australia is one of Washington's staunchest allies and has sent troops to fight alongside the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The deal is going ahead as planned which must surely be a source of embarrassment for Trump and Pence, not to mention a credit to Turnbull's negotiating skills.

A 10-day swing through four Pacific Rim nations is offering evidence that Pence has become one of Trump's chief emissaries on the world stage, patching up relations, reassuring allies still wondering about Trump's unpredictable ways and diving into worldwide crises like North Korea. Auslin said Pence will be more focused on offering Turnbull a roadmap for how the two countries can work together during Trump's presidency.

The threat of a nuclear North Korea has dominated high-level talks between US Vice-President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as both men urged China to exert greater influence on Kim Jong-un.

President Donald Trump had blasted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over the settlement plan during their now-notorious phone call shortly after his inauguration in January.

"Trump has made it clear that we'll honour the agreement.that doesn't mean we admire the agreement", he said.

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Outside Kirribilli House, on Sydney Harbour, armed US Secret Service agents patrolled the streets as the Turnbull and Pence families enjoyed morning tea.

After taking office Mr Trump was infuriated to learn that the previous Obama administration had agreed to a refugee resettlement deal with Australia where America would take up to 1,250 refugees that Australia houses in detention camps on the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

These officials included: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, and Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove in Sydney, Australia.

It comes as there are heightened tensions in the region over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Turnbull continued to give a speech highlighting the history of the US/Australian alliance since World War I, and emphasizing the cause of "freedom", and emphasizing Australia's loyalty.

Pence and his family will take a boat cruise in Sydney Harbour and tour the Sydney Opera House later in the day.

Turnbull told reporters that North Korea's "reckless and risky regime puts the peace and stability of our region at risk".