Finance

U.S. 'will honour' refugee deal with Australia that Trump called 'dumb'

U.S. 'will honour' refugee deal with Australia that Trump called 'dumb'

During what should have been a routine phone call, Trump ended up complaining about the arrangement, calling it "the worst deal ever", and ending the phone call early.

"We will honour this agreement out of respect to this enormously important alliance", Pence, who is now on a visit to Sydney, said on Saturday (22 April).

Under the deal signed in late 2016, the White House had agreed that Australia would send to the USA refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq who arrive at its offshore processing centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The U.S. and Australia are also partners, "fighting together with the common goal of utterly destroying" Islamic State, he said. Conditions in the camps are rough, defined by neglect, privation, and disease, according to human rights observers.

"President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement - that doesn't mean we admire the agreement", Pence said during a joint news conference with Turnbull.

During the meeting in Australia, Pence said the deal will go through as planned, despite Trump's reservations.

"It speaks volumes for the commitment, the integrity of President Trump", he said.

The Latest on U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's trip to Asia and Australia (all times local): 1:45 p.m. Mike Pence, meet Bai'yali the koala. A majority of Australians view Mr Trump unfavorably, and some of his critics have urged Australia to distance itself from America in favour of stronger ties with China. The U.S.is Australia's most important security partner, while China is its most important trading partner.

Mr Pence is due to fly out of Sydney early on Monday morning for Hawaii, the last stop on his 10-day Asia Pacific tour.

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Pence and Turnbull both spoke about the long-time friendship between Australia and America and their history of military cooperation.

Australia is one of Washington's staunchest allies and has sent troops to fight alongside the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The South China Sea, where China's territorial claims, land reclamation and construction have drawn criticism from its neighbors and the USA, is also likely to factor in talks between Pence and Turnbull. Pence said the bottom line is that the economies of both countries are "inextricably intertwined in a win-win relationship" that provides jobs and opportunities. This emphasizes that Australia strongly supports the USA as leading the free world.

Mr Cosgrove said the alliance started an "unbreakable relationship", telling Mr Pence: "We've been with you every step of the way".

US Vice-President Mike Pence said yesterday the United States would honour a controversial refugee deal with Australia, under which the US would resettle up to 1,250 asylum seekers, a deal President Donald Trump had described as "dumb".

In the past few days, reports emerged that China had put cruise missile-capable bombers "on high alert" in response to the developing situation in North Korea. "Rest assured, our tax reform will make the strongest economy in the world stronger still, and it will benefit the American people, American workers, and it will benefit the economy of Australia", the Financial Review has quoted him saying.

He also took to Twitter to lambast the agreement, which he termed as "dumb".


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