Australia PM doesn't recommend his country's strict gun laws for US

Glen Norman
February 25, 2018

"We are well on our way to solving the awful problem" of mass shootings, President Trump said Friday at a joint news conference with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the White House.

Washington will honor the deal to take up to 1,250 asylum-seekers held in Australian detention centers on remote Pacific islands, so Trump and Turnbull will now seek to find common ground on China and the Trans=Pacific trade pact, which aims to cut barriers in some of the region's fastest-growing economies.

Mr Turnbull trod carefully, making it clear he was satisfied with Australia's gun laws, but declining to advise Mr Trump to follow a similar path.

They then moved to the Oval Office and the White House media pool noted 15 seconds of silence with no interaction between the Turnbulls or Trumps as reporters watched on.

Australia hasn't had a mass shooting since 1996 - 22 years ago.

The bilateral press conference comes after Trump met with Turnbull, calling their relationship "terrific".

Mr Turnbull said it was the 100th anniversary of the World War I battle for Hamel in France where Australian and United States forces first fought together.

"There is no closer friendship", Trump opened.

"We want to do merit-based immigration also", Trump said, adding that such a system "really protects the interest of Australia and its people".

Mr Trump said the USA was "well on the way to solving that problem".

Trump threw the original 12-member Trans-Pacific Partnership into limbo a year ago when he withdrew the United States to concentrate on protecting

"When it came time to get in there and do something [Florida deputy Scot Peterson] didn't have the courage or something happened", Mr Trump said.

Members of Trump's own cabinet, including Vice President Mike Pence, have pointed toward Australia's infrastructure plan - especially their asset recycling program - as one that could be adopted and implemented on American shores. Since then, Turnbull has met Trump in NY, but Friday's meeting in Washington was their first in the context of an official visit.

"Our goal was to broaden and deepen our enduring relationship with the United States, our great alliance, build on 100 years of mateship for 100 more".

A spokesman for Turnbull said the Australian federal police said the crash had "no impact on the prime minister". He said American and Australian companies are working together on energy production and infrastructure development.

Mr Turnbull said he did make a compelling case to Mr Trump that Australia should not be hit by any hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into the US.

Both leaders dismiss speculation that their relationship had been damaged by that telephone call.

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