Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s priority during his US visit will be to reinforce the AUKUS alliance in the wake of a French campaign to undermine the nuclear submarine deal, says the Australian’s Editor-at-Large Paul Kelly.
Mr Morrison, who touched down in New York on Tuesday morning, will meet US President Joe Biden on Wednesday before engaging in talks with the leaders of Japan and India later this week.
“The number one priority is having an effective bilateral face-to-face with President Biden, ensuring that that goes well, creating a sense of one-on-one understanding with the president and above all, getting direct assurances from President Biden about the new defence technology agreement and the nuclear-powered submarine agreement,” he told Sky News Australia.
“That is the number one objective, particularly in the teeth of the French campaign and the pressure the French are putting on President Biden.
“There is a grey area here in terms of how far the Americans might go in terms of providing nuclear-powered technology to the Australian government, and in that sense, Morrison needs to nail this down as much as he can.”