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Pence reaffirms US-Australia alliance after Trump spat


"We've initiated the process of fulfilling that agreement", Pence said Saturday in Sydney at a press conference following a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mike Pence offered the assurances to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday during a joint media conference in Sydney.

Mr Turnbull opened the talks with Mr Pence with a reference to Australia and America's long history of military alliance, one the PM noted stretched back more than a century to World War I before formal alliances were brokered 60 years ago.

Mr Pence is due to fly out of Australia for Hawaii early Monday morning.

The deal has taken on added importance for Australia, which is under political and legal pressure to shut the camps, particularly one on PNG's Manus Island where violence between residents and inmates has flared recently.

Afterwards, it wasn't clear if the US would honor the deal - which Trump later tweeted was "dumb" - but on Saturday, Pence assured Australia that America would indeed accept the refugees.

SYDNEY (AP) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Australia's prime minister swept aside any lingering tensions Saturday over an Obama era agreement on the resettlement of refugees, joining forces to urge China to take a greater role in pressuring North Korea to scuttle its nuclear weapons and missile program.

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

He arrived in Sydney on Friday night for a two-day official visit as part of a 10-day tour of the Asia Pacific. And in return, Australia will resettle refugees from Central America.


Pence's state visit to Sydney came roughly 10 weeks after that tempestuous argument seemed to confirm fears that Trump's temperament could endanger even the strongest and oldest USA alliances.

Despite praising Beijing's moves to stop coal shipments to North Korea and impose travel sanctions, the Vice-President said "we believe China can do more".

Mr. Pence said an aircraft carrier strike group, led by the USS Carl Vinson, heading for waters off the Korean peninsula would be in the Sea of Japan within days.

Pence and Turnbull said they are aligned in their opinion that China should use its leverage with North Korea to de-escalate the nuclear threat.

Mr Pence said last Wednesday that the United States would counter any North Korean attack with an "overwhelming and effective" response.

President Donald Trump has contested the deal.

Pence will now be visiting Sydney, Australia to meet with government officials from that country.

Last week, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop indicated Australia would consider further sanctions against the hermit state.

Amid heightened security, Pence is expected to take a harbour cruise during his short visit on the weekend.

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