Ms Payne, Ms Bishop, Mr Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis at the AUSMIN talks in Stanford, California. Picture: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Ms Payne, Ms Bishop, Mr Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis at the AUSMIN talks in Stanford, California. Picture: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Trump’s top men talk up Australia ties

DONALD Trump's senior representatives hailed the ties between the US and Australia as "rock solid" during talks with Julie Bishop in California.

"The US and Australia both know we can rely on each other," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

He and Defence Secretary James Mattis told of America's desire for a stable and free Indo-Pacific and said the US will not push Australia to conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea.

There have been questions about America's commitment to Australia and Pacific allies since the election of Mr Trump, who has spoken out against allies and was a very reluctant supporter of Australia's asylum-seeker deal.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America and Australia could ‘rely on each other’ during Australia-US Ministerial Consultations with Julie Bishop. Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said America and Australia could ‘rely on each other’ during Australia-US Ministerial Consultations with Julie Bishop. Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

Mr Pompeo and Mr Mattis wrapped up two days of AUSMIN (Australia-US Ministerial Consultations) with Australia's Foreign Minister Ms Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne at California's Stanford University on Tuesday.

"The US and Australia will walk the walk in the Indo-Pacific," Mr Mattis said.

The general, however, said it was up to Australia if it embarked on freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea where China has constructed and militarised islands. "That's a sovereign decision by a sovereign state," he said.

Donald Trump’s senior officials told Foreign Minister Ms Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne the US will not push Australia to conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. Picture: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Donald Trump’s senior officials told Foreign Minister Ms Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne the US will not push Australia to conduct freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. Picture: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

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