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Trump, Australia's Turnbull to bury the hatchet in New York meeting

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 06:48

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Donald Trump will meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York next week, rebooting a relationship that got off to a rocky start shortly after the US president's inauguration.

[WASHINGTON] Donald Trump will meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York next week, rebooting a relationship that got off to a rocky start shortly after the US president's inauguration.

The White House announced Tuesday that the meeting will take place May 4 at the USS Intrepid museum in New York, where Mr Trump is set to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea during World War II.

It will be their first encounter since a surly introductory phone call last January rattled the long-standing alliance between the two nations.

"The president will hold a bilateral meeting with Malcolm Turnbull of Australia," the president's spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters.

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During their introductory phone chat, Mr Trump reportedly exploded, cutting short his call with Mr Turnbull when he learned about a previously agreed-to deal for the United States to take refugees from Pacific island detention centers.

Mr Trump later tweeted his disapproval of the "dumb deal" agreed to by his predecessor Barack Obama.

That left some in Australia questioning the mercurial US president's commitment to the decades-old relationship.

US Vice-President Mike Pence during a visit to Australia that aimed in part to smoothe ruffled feathers, last week reaffirmed US plans to take the refugees.

Nevertheless, friction between Washington and Canberra has increased during Mr Trump's presidency over several stumbling blocks, including the US withdrawal from a trans-Pacific trade deal that would have given Australian firms more access to markets in the United States and several key regional markets.

Next week's meeting will be held on the hangar deck of the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that played a key role in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 - a major naval engagement in the Pacific Ocean during World War II.

The battle pitted the Japanese navy against US and Australian naval and air forces.

A strategic victory for the Allies, it marked the first time they checked a major Japanese advance since the start of the war.

AFP

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