Tony Abbott Assures 'Most Dependable Friend' to U.S. as Obama 'Maintains Stand' on Climate Change

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By Reissa Su | June 13, 2014 4:37 PM EST

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has pledged as the "most dependable" friend of the U.S. in a meeting with Pres. Barack Obama.

REUTERS
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange June 10, 2014.

Obama said he envisioned a defense cooperation with Australia in Asia. Despite differences in climate change, Obama welcomed the Australian conservative leader in his first White House summit since Abbott won the election in September 2013. He said Australia will be a U.S. "utterly indispensable ally."

Abbott favored the idea the U.S. was paying more attention to Asia. The American president praised Abbott for increasing Australia's budget for defense despite a tough economy.

Obama said they have to do what they can to ensure they give their fair share in maintaining international security. According to reports, he said the U.S. has no better friend in the world and the Asia-Pacific region rather than Australia.

After the Oval Office meeting, Obama said he sees a "whole range of opportunities" with increased cooperation from Australia.

He had agreed with the previous Labour government to send about 2,500 U.S. Marine troops by 2016 to 2017 in the northern city of Darwin. Reports said the city is strategically located to tension-filled areas in Southeast Asia.

Obama said the U.S. and Australia continue to work out their bilateral cooperation between their respective military forces.

The U.S. president described Australia as one of his favorite countries to visit and is looking forward to the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane in November.

Abbott has refused to give in to the calls of the Obama administration to make climate change a top priority in the G20 summit. In the previous week, Obama has laid out his plans to reduce carbon emissions blamed for worsening climate change.

According to reports, Abbott has previously described the studies behind climate change as "absolute crap" and moved to scrap carbon tax in Australia in favor of his Direct Action plan.

The Australian prime minister has sought an alliance with "like-minded" Commonwealth nations, but New Zealand and the UK have expressed their disinterest on the matter since both countries take climate change "seriously."

According to Jay Carney, White House press secretary, Obama wants to discuss climate change in the G20 meeting and wants the issue to be on the agenda in Brisbane. 

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(Photo: REUTERS / BRENDAN MCDERMID)
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange June 10, 2014.
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