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US, Australia leaders eye more defence cooperation

Published on Jun 13, 2014 6:39 AM
US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott shake hands following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on June 12, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama said on Thursday that he envisioned greater defence cooperation with Australia in a tension-filled Asia, welcoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott despite differences on climate change.

In the conservative leader's first White House summit since his election in September, Abbott said that Australia "will be an utterly indispensable ally" of the United States and welcomed Obama's efforts to shift more US attention on Asia.

Obama praised Abbott for increasing Australia's defence budget in tough economic times, calling the move a recognition that "we all have to make sure that we're doing our fair share to help maintain global order and security."

"We don't have a better friend in the world, as well as the Asia-Pacific region, than Australia," Obama told reporters after the Oval Office meeting.

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