Australian PM to make first US visit in June

Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Tuesday that he will make his first visit as national leader to the United States in June.

Abbott's conservative government came to power with a decisive election victory last September and in April he led the largest-ever Australian government and business delegation to China, Australia's largest trading partner with which a free-trade deal is being finalized.

On the way to Beijing, Abbott signed a free-trade agreement with Japan. U.S. President Barak Obama failed to finalize a similar bilateral trade pact during his recent visit to Japan.

Abbott told Australian Radio 3AW on Tuesday that he would meet Obama during his visit. Abbott said he will also make a trip to Normandy in France to attend D-Day anniversary commemorations on June 6.

The United States is Australia's most important security partner, but the close strategic relationship is viewed with suspicion by China.

Obama visited Australia in 2011, when the two countries announced an increasing U.S. Marines presence in the northern Australian city of Darwin as part of the U.S. pivot to Asia.

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