Today the President and First Lady will welcome Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Lady Jenny Morrison for an official state visit to the United States.
After a day of formal and semi-formal activity, the Morrisons’ will be guests of honor at a White House state dinner in the Rose Garden. Schedule:
♦ 9:00am ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in the arrival ceremony of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mrs. Jenny Morrison of Australia – South Lawn
♦ 9:30am ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in the official guest book signing and leader gift exchange – Blue Room
♦ 9:40am ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in a receiving line with the official Australian Delegation – Cross Hall
♦ 10:00am ET THE PRESIDENT participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia – Oval Office
♦ 10:30am ET THE PRESIDENT participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia – Cabinet Room
♦ 11:45am ET THE PRESIDENT participates in a joint press availability with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia – East Room
♦ 7:00pm ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in the arrival of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Lady Jenny Morrison of Australia – North Portico
♦ 7:05pm ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in couples reception with the Prime Minister of Australia and Mrs. Morrison – Yellow Oval Room
♦ 7:35pm ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in a receiving line – Blue Room
♦ 8:20pm ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY host a state dinner with the Prime Minister of Australia and Mrs. Morrison – Rose Garden
First Lady Melania has chosen to deck the Rose Garden with green and gold, with yellow garden roses, wattle and golden champagne grapes decorating the tables.
Approximately 100 guests will enjoy a menu of sunchoke ravioli, Dover sole with fennel mousseline, and Lady Apple tart was chosen to “pay homage to Australia’s special blend of culinary adaptations from its various cultures, not unlike the diverse food traditions of the United States”, a spokesperson for Mrs Trump said.
♦ 9:40pm ET THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY participate in entertainment with the Prime Minister of Australia and Mrs. Morrison – Rose Garden
[White House Background] – Just going to briefly give you a flavor of what we’re going to be doing tomorrow, schedule-wise, for the state visit, and then walk a little bit into the relationship and some of the policy objectives and outcomes from — from the visit.
So we’re going to start tomorrow morning with a 9:00 a.m. South Lawn arrival ceremony. That’ll take us for about 30 minutes. Then we’re going to go into a guestbook signing and gift exchange, before a two-on-two — President and First Lady, and Prime Minister and Mrs. Morrison — meeting in the Oval Office. Then we’re going to have a series of bilateral meetings between the President, the Prime Minister, and their staffs. That’s going to take us up to the middle of the day, where we’re going to have a joint press conference in the East Room — starts at 11:45 a.m., to run for about 30 minutes or so.
That’ll take us to the State Department luncheon to be hosted by Vice President Pence and Secretary Pompeo, starting at 1:00 p.m.
Then we’re going to — skipping down later in the day we have the state dinner at 8:15 p.m. and entertainment going until later in the evening in the Rose Garden. So, that’s a little bit of the program for tomorrow and what we expect to see on the agenda.
Looking at the relationship, the U.S. partnership and alliance with Australia is one of our strongest and most enduring relationships anywhere in the world. You can measure that by the military, the shared military engagement, going back to the First World War. U.S. and Australian troops have served side by side, going back to the Battle of Hamel in 1918. And all the way through World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, the first Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Defeat ISIS campaign, and throughout numerous other counterterrorism and other engagements around the world.
It’s incredibly robust in the intelligent sharing arena. They’re a member of Five Eyes, and we have — we have just an extraordinarily dynamic and deep partnership with them across so many areas.
The purpose of this visit is going to be highlighting the breadth and the depth of that relationship. So, the President — in addition to what I walked you through for Friday, the President of course is also going to be traveling later on with the Prime Minister to Ohio, where we’re going to be highlighting the economic side of the relationship.
And what’s really extraordinary about that is, of course, from a trading standpoint, we have both a surplus in goods and a surplus in services with Australia. And the foreign direct investment that we’re going to be highlighting in Wapakoneta, Ohio, is a really impressive example of what this administration’s policies and Australia’s commitment to the alliance have been able to produce in the industrial Midwest.
Looking at what we’re — what we’re trying to highlight in this visit in terms of specific policies, the President’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, as is highlighted in the National Security Strategy and other strategy documents, Australians are an absolutely essential partner in that free and open Indo-Pacific vision. They coordinate with us. We have numerous mechanisms for cooperation already to really capture the full breadth of the challenges and the opportunities in the region. And we are in constant contact with them. And this — this visit is designed to highlight some of — some of that cooperation.
I’ll just give you a flavor of some of the things we’re going to — that’ll likely be coming out of this that are worth highlighting. Australia has been a tremendous partner for us as it relates to Iran’s nuclear program and towards some of the challenges we face with Iran. They’ve recently announced there are going to be joint patrols with the United States in the Strait of Hormuz to keep — to ensure freedom of navigation and the Strait.
In North Korea, they’ve been a key partner in our efforts in North Korea. They’ve been absolutely steadfast as it relates to broader issues of preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific and coordinating with us on that. So we want to highlight the security and then the regional architecture side of the relationship.
We also, from an economic-partnership standpoint, we’re going to be talking about space cooperation. This is an area where the Australians have been cooperating with us for over 60 years in space. And we’re going to have some announcements on an MOU between NASA and the Australian Space Agency on returning to the moon by 2024, and to explore new areas of mutual interest in things like automation and robotics. It’s going to be very exciting.
On rare earth elements and critical minerals, which is an area of shared interest and concern for both countries, we’re going to be rolling out a plan to improve security and supply of rare earth in a way that is mutually beneficial to both countries and strengthens our — both security — our physical security and our economic security.
In the science and technology space, we’re going to be unveiling some mechanisms to increase our S&T cooperation, particularly in the area of frontier technologies and identifying future research projects where both countries are going to be able to collaborate across the spectrum of different projects and disciplines.
And finally, on the environmental side, we’re going to be rolling out some program to work on recycling and waste management, especially in oceans plastic, which is an area of concern to both the United States and Australia.
So, I think you can see, this is going to be — the depth and breadth of the things we’re talking about during this visit is really a reflection of the depth and breadth of the relationship as a whole.
And so I think, you know, this comes — last year, we celebrated 100 years of Mateship between the United States and Australia. And this is, you know, the first state visit that we’ve had since Prime Minister Howard came to the United States shortly after 9/11. And in those 18 years, the Australians have really been shoulder-to-shoulder with us all over the world in so many different areas. And this is really a perfect time to highlight the alliance and the contribution.
So, I can take any questions.
Q Hi, this is Andrew Feinberg with Breakfast Media. Thanks for doing this call. Given the news last night and today, is the President planning on taking any steps to assure the Prime Minister that the U.S. can be trusted by Australia and the rest of our Five Eyes alliance allies?
And also, does the President still want the Attorney General to, quote, “look at” Australia and their diplomats’ role in starting the Russia investigation?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Look, the Five Eyes partnership is one of the strongest in the world. And what the United States and Australia cooperate on every day is the mutual safety and security of Australians and Americans. And so that relationship is steadfast and has been really one of the pinnacles of global security over the last 60 years. So that’s — that relationship is done unshakeable.
Q Hi. This is Kyle Mazza for UNF News. Thank you for doing this call. I wanted to go back to a topic that you pointed out on the environment. Can you say specifically what the Prime Minister and the President will discuss on recycling plastics at our mutual interest to Australia and the United States? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Sure. I’ll give you just a little more flavor on that. Bottom line: We’ve been — both countries have been looking, over the last several years, at ways to reduce oceans plastic and the pollution that comes from that and the damage it does to marine wildlife, to sustainable fishing, and to the ecosystem in general.
Both countries — obviously, we have significant Exclusive Economic Zones, significant coastlines, so have a very — both of us have an interest in collaborating and cooperating on that challenge.
So I think the President and the Prime Minister and their staffs are going to have an opportunity to look at some proposals that have been put on the table by both sides, how we can just have more cooperation both on the scientific side, as well as on the environmental protection side.
So we’re going to be discussing that in different forums throughout the visit. Thanks.
Q Christina Anderson, (inaudible) News. So, I’m interested in some details about the MOU on the space cooperation. And also whether there will be any formal cooperation discussed on the military side, in terms of space defense. And so those are the main questions. Thank you. Thank you for the call.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Sure. Sure. On the space side, I just would highlight that, you know, for years, the Australian Space Agency and NASA have had — it’s been an incredibly cooperative relationship going back to the Apollo program into the moon landing. And what we’re trying to do in this visit is to expand that longstanding cooperation into the next frontiers — the Moon and Mars. And I think what you’ll see is we’re going to have some proposals on the table that will further integrate Australia and the United States into conquering those new frontiers.
Q Hello, my name is Stephanie from Intelligent Luxury. My question is, how can U.S. companies increase tourism to Australia and conduct business with Australia’s government and businesses?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So you know, the U.S.-Australia relationship on the economic side is extraordinarily diverse and robust. And what we have — as I mentioned earlier, from a trade standpoint, we have a great surplus in both services and goods.
The President’s trip to Ohio is going to be — with the Prime Minister — is going to be highlighting the foreign direct investment side in the United States. And American companies are already significant investors in Australia. We have every expectation that it’s going to continue and to grow. And it’s really — I think one of the highlights of this whole state visit is going to be just the close economic cooperation between us and how we expect that to only continue.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And we’ll take one more question, please.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Hi, this is Alex Alper with Reuters. I was wondering if you could give a bit more detail on the plan to boost sharing on (inaudible) — I’m sorry — on rare earth. Is it going to entail a facility to process rare earth metals? Can you give any other detail? And will it be an EO or some other type of document? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, so I think the key takeaway from that is, kind of, what our joint objectives are. We share a concern about making sure that our supply of rare earth and critical minerals are secure. That’s something that both countries have a very, very pronounced interest in.
We also have a concern about — we also have — I think both countries share an interest in making sure that global supply of rare earth is stable and secure. So, looking at different ways in which we can pool our expertise and our resources to make sure that there’s a stable and secure global market that’s not easily disrupted by shocks and outside influences.
So, that’s where we are with the rare earths and I think that’s going to be an important outcome from the visit. Thanks. [Briefing Concludes]