Pence: United States will honour refugee deal with Australia

US Vice President Mike Pence has taken time out from his high-level talks with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to share lunch with leaders from Australia's business, arts and defence sectors.

"Rest assured, as I confirmed today with the Prime Minister, the United States of America will honour the agreement and actually we have initiated the process of fulfilling that agreement, subject to the vetting processes that now apply to all refugees in the United States".

Trump and Turnbull reportedly had a tense phone call about the refugees early in Trump's term, during which Trump called the Obama deal to accept the refugees "dumb".

The refugees are being held in detention camps in two islands near Australia - Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Turnbull sidestepped a question about whether Australia would ever join possible future military action against North Korea and said Australia's commitment was focused on public and private diplomacy. Australia has fought alongside the U.S.in every major conflict since World War I.

Pence was greeted in Sydney on Saturday by Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove.

"President Trump has made it clear that we'll honor the agreement - that doesn't mean we admire the agreement", Pence said during a joint news conference with Turnbull.

During his visit he has sought to strengthen ties with U.S. allies in the region following Trump's criticism of China and Japan during the presidential campaign.

Both the US and Australia have pressured China to take more responsibility in influencing North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

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Maduro's forces have previously barred protesters from the government stronghold with rubber pellets and armored vehicles. Foreign governments are also warning about the increasingly bellicose rhetoric and repressive stance of the government.

Turnbull echoed the sentiments, saying: "The eyes of the world are on Beijing".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Sydney for a weekend visit that will include meetings with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other top officials.

He said Washington believed that a nuclear-free Korean peninsula could be achieved peacefully because of the Trump administration's new engagement with China.

The alliance was front-and-center for Pence in his meetings with top Australian officials, who repeatedly noted their military partnership for almost a century. Indeed, the vice president seemed determined to reassure Australia of its importance to the US, noting as he stood next to Turnbull on the shores of Sydney Harbour: "It's always heartening to stand beside a friend, and I do so today".

'We know that our security is the foundation of our prosperity'.

On the second full day of his whirlwind visit Mr Pence, his wife Karen and daughters Charlotte and Audrey will visit the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo and take a harbour cruise with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

"Mr Pence is a traditional conservative Republican who has an alliance-centric view of the world and I think the objective of his mission is to telegraph continuity to Japan and Korea, Australia and Indonesia".

Sydney is the final leg of his Asia-Pacific tour before departing for Hawaii on Monday.

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