US Vice President Mike Pence will visit Australia later this month for meetings with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
The visit will be part of a comprehensive tour of the Asia-Pacific with stops also planned in South Korea, Japan and Indonesia.
It comes as US President Donald Trump and his administration work to firm up relationships with America’s closest allies in the region after the real estate billionaire’s inflammatory comments during his election campaign and behaviour in the White House, including his fiery January 28 phone call with Mr Turnbull.
It also comes as the region contemplates action against North Korea’s missile program and Mr Trump holds crucial meetings this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida Mar-a-Lago estate.
“This trip will serve as the vice president’s first official travel to the Asia-Pacific region,” the White House announced in a statement.
“During his trip, the vice president will emphasise President Trump’s continued commitment to US alliances and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, highlight the Administration’s economic agenda, and underscore America’s unwavering support for our troops at home and abroad.”
Mr Pence will be accompanied on the trip by his wife, Karen Pence, and their two daughters.
They will touch down in Sydney on April 22.
“The vice president will visit Sydney, Australia, where he will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull”, the White House statement continued.
“Vice President Pence will also meet with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten along with US and Australian service members.
“Focusing again on American businesses, jobs, and the economy, Vice President Pence will join a listening session and give remarks to the US and Australian business community.”
The tour will begin in Seoul on April 16, then he will fly to Tokyo on April 18 and then Jakarta on April 20.
He will conclude the trip with a visit to Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 24.