VP Pence aims to reassure Australia after tense Trump call

In his opening remarks to the meeting, Mr Pence said he and US President Donald Trump regarded the free trade agreement signed by Australia and the US in 2005 as an excellent model and a "win-win" for both countries who share a $US1.5 trillion relationship.

"The truth is, I say respectfully, there's much more that must be done to improve the business and investment climate in Indonesia", Mr. Pence told businesspeople Friday, at the end of a two-day visit before leaving for Australia. Australia has fought alongside the U.S.in every major conflict since World War I, and is one of the largest contributors to the US -led military campaign in Iraq and Syria.

Pence's visit to Australia follows strains in the historically tight-knit alliance between the nations.

Pence's visit Down Under, part of his 10-day, four-country trip to the Pacific Rim, was widely viewed as an effort to smooth over relations with Australia.

"Our friendship has been forged in the fire of sacrifice", Pence said.

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But Pence foreshadowed some reworking of commercial and economic ties, saying that the US seeks a free and fair relationship that helps job creation and economic growth for both sides.

He's expected to meet with Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, opposition leader Bill Shorten and others. Pence has sought to reassure allies in the region that the U.S.is still committed to trade and economic ties despite Trump's decision on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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.

It is the third leg of his four-nation swing through key US allies and partners in the region. Then, Trump and Turnbull had a contentious phone call in January over a refugee resettlement deal struck by the previous Obama administration.

Turnbull has echoed the Trump administration's assertion that China needs to do more to impose economic and political pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic-missile programs.

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Vice President Mike Pence sought to reassure Australia today that the U.S. remains committed to the countries' longtime alliance, as he tried to patch up relations that were left frayed when President Donald Trump got into a spat with Australia's leader over a refugee resettlement deal.

Pence said Trump would be attending a summit with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Philippines in November. Governor-General Peter Cosgrove, seated with Pence, said the relationship between the countries is as strong as it was since "the first time we saw each other on the battlefield in 1919".

"It is the earliest visit by a vice president in a term of a new administration in history".

On Sunday, Pence and his family were to tour Sydney's iconic Opera House, take a boat ride in the harbor and visit the city's Taronga Zoo.

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