President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull marked the 75th anniversary of a major World War II naval battle with a May 4 visit to an aircraft carrier in New York.

“It’s really a special privilege to be back on the Intrepid and to address both American and Australian heroes,” said Trump in a ceremony aboard the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier commemorating the 1942 battle of the Coral Sea.

We have “reaffirmed the tremendous friendship between the United States and Australia and the vital importance of our security and our alliance,” Trump said.

Turnbull also highlighted the special relationship. “As we reflect on the Battle of the Coral Sea we are reminded of how the stability and prosperity of our region over so many decades has been secured and is secured today by the United States,” Turnbull said.

This was the first meeting between the two leaders.

Partners in security

The Battle of the Coral Sea is described as the battle that saved Australia. Combined U.S. and Australian forces engaged the Imperial Navy of Japan in the ocean northeast of Australia over four days. Notable for its use of aircraft carriers, the battle marked a turning point in the war where, for the first time, the Allies successfully stopped the Japanese advance in the Pacific.

The U.S.-Australia alliance goes back more than 100 years. The two nations have fought together in every major conflict since World War I, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Australia also is a vital partner in the global coalition to defeat ISIS.

Aircraft carrier in water (© AP Images)
The Imperial Navy of Japan sank the USS Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942. (© AP Images)

Partners in trade

Trump also emphasized “the enduring bonds, deep friendship and close alliance between the United States and Australia.”

The two nations have extensive trade and business interactions. Since establishing a free trade agreement in 2005:

  • The value of annual U.S. goods exports to Australia has risen 59 percent to $22.2 billion.
  • U.S. services exports to Australia have increased by 223 percent.
  • Foreign direct investment between the two countries has doubled.

Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Australia of goods and services totaled more than $61 billion in 2015.

Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen, visited Australia in April. “Australia is, and always will be, one of America’s closest allies and truest friends,” Pence said at a meeting with U.S. and Australian business leaders.

“We are partners in security. We are partners in prosperity, and together we are bound by our historic alliance,” the vice president said.