Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Saturday he has been invited by U.S. President Donald Trump to an official state dinner at the White House. It is the first such invitation to an Australian prime minister since George Bush hosted John Howard in 2006.
Mr Morrison enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to visit Washington DC, praising the U.S. president as a strong leader who will always “follow through on what he says”.
The Australian conservative coalition leader described the trip, scheduled for September, as “something very significant for Australia,” adding he also appreciated the “warmth” shown to him and his wife, Jenny.
“Australia’s relationship with the United States could not be stronger. And it could not be stronger at a more important time for Australia, where we are in our region, where things are at in the world today,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane on Saturday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Trump is to host the reception for Morrison following on from their meetings on the sidelines of the D-Day commemorations in the UK and the G20 summit this year.
Morrison addressed U.S. military personnel on Friday as part of the Talisman Sabre exercises in Queensland involving Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK, Canada and Japan and spoke then of the warmth of the relationship between the two allies.
He said Australia and America “see the world through the same eyes” and paid elegant tribute to American leadership in the South-West Pacific theater during World War Two, applauding the United States as it “helped secure the freedom we enjoy today” after it joined Australia in turning back Japan from occupying nearby Papua New Guinea.
He said Australia and the U.S. had “always understood each other and stood by each other.”
“Australia believes in what Ronald Reagan called the ‘truths and traditions’ that define the United States,” Mr Morrison said. “We stand together in these self-evident truths. We stand together for personal liberty and freedom. For democracy and the ballot box. For the rule of law, and freedom of association. For free economies and free peoples.”