US-Australia relations

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

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.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will travel to the US to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea during World War II
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will travel to the US to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea during World War II (AFP)

NEW YORK - 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 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.

Turnbull said he was "delighted" at the invitation, for which his government had pushed, according to Australian media.

"Australia and the United States are enduring allies," the prime minister said in a statement.

"Our alliance has been forged over many decades, through times of war and times of peace, securing our nations' freedom and peace and security in the world."

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

Trump later tweeted his disapproval of the "dumb deal" signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

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

During a visit to Australia last week that partly aimed to smooth ruffled feathers, US Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed US plans to take the refugees.

Nevertheless, friction between Washington and Canberra has increased during 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.

The Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 -- a major naval engagement in the Pacific Ocean during World War II -- 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.