HASH(0xb4aefc)

Australian leader says North Korea will dominate Trump talks

Australian leader says North Korea will dominate Trump talks

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday that he and U.S. President Donald Trump will engage as two seasoned businessmen-turned-politicians when they meet for the first time, focusing on North Korea, security and economic issues.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was speaking hours before he departed Sydney for New York, where he will meet Trump on Thursday, more than three months after the two had a heated telephone conversation over a refugee deal.

“We’ll talk about the wide range of security and economic issues, but top of the list obviously at the moment is North Korea,” Turnbull told Seven Network television.

Turnbull described media reports of his Jan. 28 telephone conversation with Trump, in which the president reluctantly agreed to honour an agreement with President Barack Obama’s administration to take up to 1,250 refugees off Australia’s hands, as “very exaggerated.” He has previously denied media reports that Trump hung up on him, but has provided few details of the conversation.

“The president and I had a frank, forthright and courteous call. We are both people with a long background in business and I think — I’ve got no doubt — that we’ll get on fine,” Turnbull told Sydney Radio WSFM.

Turnbull, Australia’s wealthiest lawmaker and a former Goldman Sachs partner with an estimated fortune exceeding $150 million, will highlight the U.S.-Australian defence alliance by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump at a ceremony marking the 75 anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

U.S. and Australian warships and fighter planes fought the Japanese from May 4-8, 1942, with the Japanese navy being forced back for the first time in World War II.

Michael Fullilove, executive director of the Lowy Institute, a Sydney-based foreign policy think-tank , will attend the ceremony aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Fullilove said it was important that Turnbull “establish a working, personal relationship with Mr. Trump.”

“The first phone call was really disastrous, in a way,” Fullilove told Australian Broadcasting Corp. from New York.

Turnbull will need to strike a balance because Trump is unpopular in Australia, Fullilove said. The Lowy Institute commissioned an opinion poll last year that found 77 per cent of Australian respondents wanted Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton to become president, and only 11 per cent preferred Trump.

The phone survey of 1,002 Australian adults was conducted on June 1-9 and had a 3.1 per cent margin of error.

“The Australian public want to know the Australian prime minister has the ear of the president,” Fullilove said. “You pull off a successful meeting, but at the same time, you’re not trying to pretend that you’re chummier than you really are.”

Under the Obama-era refugee resettlement agreement, the U.S. will take up to 1,250 refugees — mostly Muslims from Africa, the Middle East and Asia — that Australia houses in immigration 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.”

Turnbull told the president: “I’m a businessman, you’re a businessman. A deal is a deal,” Australian officials said at the time.

Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Large drug bust yields fentanyl and carfentanil

Abbotsford Police launch investigation after spike in overdose deaths

Fill the Ambulance for those in need Saturday and Sunday

Kimz Angels, Santa, celebrities and a big fire truck will be at the Murrayville IGA

Fort Langley gallery artists collaborate to celebrate winter solstice

Fort Gallery is hosting its monthly arts evening featuring live music and the latest art exhibit.

Car jumps curb at Langley Burger King

A vehicle clipped the corner of the building and hit some picnic tables.

Langley’s Queen of pantomime sets sail Friday on ‘a sea of hilarity’

Langley’s Ellie King describes her newest undertaking as rollicking, comical panto.

VIDEO: New series takes in-depth look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Black Press takes a hard look at sexual harassment in B.C.

Police appeal for info after girl, 11, hit in New Westminster crosswalk

Child was left with non-life threatening injuries

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

UPDATED: Byelection lawsuit cost Langley City $27,000

Last-place candidate Serena Oh failed to convince the Supreme Court to hear her case.

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Most Read