dglobalnews.com VP Pence arrives in Australia, last stop in Asia
Published: Mon, May 01, 2017
Global Media | By Cecelia Webb

VP Pence arrives in Australia, last stop in Asia

"We told them that there were more steps that needed to be taken", the adviser said, noting it was the only business issue that Pence raised in his Thursday meeting with Widodo.

Asylum-seeker advocates welcomed the USA commitment, although they remained concerned that "extreme vetting" could see fewer than 1,250 resettled in the United States.

Pence will meet with Bishop during his trip to Australia.

Penny was snoozing happily in the shade of a gum tree when Mr Pence, his wife Karen and their daughters Charlotte and Audrey arrived to give her a pat. Perhaps Pence thought it was important that the Australian people "see our resolve on his face" as well.

Mr Pence on Sunday remained silent on the war of words between Australia and North Korea as he joined his family for tours of Taronga Zoo, Sydney Harbour, NSW Government House and the Opera House on the final day of their official visit.

But during a news conference in Sydney alongside Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Pence said honouring the agreement "doesn't mean that we admire it".

"I bring greetings this morning from the President of the United States", Pence said at Admiralty House in Sydney. In January, Trump and Turnbull got into a spat over a refugee resettlement deal that strained ties between the countries.

Refugees are being held by Australia on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and on the South Pacific island of Nauru, under policies to deter asylum seekers from attempting to reach the country by boat, often on sub-standard fishing vessels via people smugglers in Indonesia.

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Previously, Trump and Turnbull shared a heated phone call about the refugee agreement in February.

According to pool reports, Pence said that the goal of the visit was "to reaffirm the strong historic alliance between the United States of America and Australia".

During the news conference with Turnbull, Pence also spoke about US' military cooperation with Australia - one of its closest allies.

The US Vice President highlighted the historic record both countries have dating back to World War I. The country is also part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing program with the US, along with Canada, Britain and New Zealand.

"Each nation is committed to protecting its economic interest first and foremost", he told reporters in Sydney, saying the United States government had to make its own judgements.

"As I said earlier this week, the eyes of the world are on Beijing". Australia's Governor-General Peter Cosgrove said the relationship between the two countries is as strong as it has been since "the first time we saw each other on the battlefield in 1919".

Vice President Mike Pence has been given a guided tour of Sydney's Australian Museum, where he came face to face with some of the Australia's deadliest animals.

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