SEOUL: Malcolm Turnbull will talk North Korea and business tax cuts with Donald Trump in Washington as he takes a break from the Barnaby Joyce scandal. The prime minister has lined up a series of high-level meetings with top US officials, as well as a visit to the White House with President Trump.
Mr Turnbull is expected to address the threat North Korea poses the Asian region in several meetings, including a sit-down at the Pentagon. The president’s pick for US Ambassador to Australia, Admiral Harry Harris, last week spoke about the belief North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is aimed at blackmailing South Korea into reunifying into a single Communist nation.
Mr Turnbull will also talk economic development and business tax cuts, which President Trump was able to pass but the prime minister has so far been unable to.
But there will be no discussion about gun control in the wake of the latest US school shooting, or the Obama-era refugee swap deal that angered Mr Trump when he spoke to Mr Turnbull in 2017.
The recently-released Australian foreign policy white paper and the US National Defense Strategy both view China and Russia as potential threats to global security, and those documents will form part of discussions.
The US is looking at a “quad” Indo-Pacific security alliance with Australia, Japan and India, which Australia is also open to, while Mr Trump’s softening stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership may open up opportunities for the Australian delegation.
Mr Turnbull will address the National Governors’ Association meeting as he and a delegation of state premiers and business leaders build trade connections with US states.
“Each year they single out a country that they want to be a special focus and we’re fortunate that Australia’s that nation this year,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday.