Australia

Trump promises to take care of US allies

PM Morrison will urge President Trump to resolve US-China trade tensions ahead of the G20 summit. (AAP)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and senior ministers will have a working dinner with President Donald Trump and US officials ahead of the G20 meeting in Japan.

Scott Morrison will directly urge US President Donald Trump to resolve trade tensions with China over dinner on the eve of the G20 summit.

The prime minister has secured a spot on Mr Trump's short list of scheduled meetings on the sidelines of the forum in Osaka, Japan this week.

Mr Morrison sees the working dinner on Thursday as a chance to urge Mr Trump to stay engaged with Chinese president Xi Jinping to resolve the trade dispute casting a shadow over the global economy.

"This meeting with the president and his senior team highlights the strength and candour of our relationship," Mr Morrison said in a statement.

"From efforts to relieve the strains on our global trading system to greater digitalisation and the need for social media companies to step up to better protect our citizens, the US and Australia have significant roles to play."

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Australia's US ambassador Joe Hockey and senior officials will join talks.

It is expected senior officials from the Trump administration will also participate, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and national security adviser John Bolton.

"We look forward to a positive and constructive engagement with the president and his team tonight," Senator Cormann told reporters in Osaka on Thursday.

"We certainly will be putting forward the Australian perspective, which is that we believe that obviously a commitment to free trade is important."

Labor's foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong urged Mr Morrison - who is also set to meet with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe - to use the dinner to advocate Australia's interests.

"Australia has an interest in open, fair, transparent, trading arrangements and we don't want to see Australia's interests overlooked or damaged in the trade conflict between the US and China," she told reporters in Adelaide.

"We should be advocating - as a staunch ally and a friend of the United States - this to the United States, just as we should continue to advocate Australia's position to China as a great power in our region."

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mr Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump are also expected to attend.

Mr Trump will also meet with Mr Xi in Osaka to discuss trade.

The White House has signalled it is in no hurry to solve the trade dispute with China and the president would use his meeting with Mr Xi "to see where the Chinese side is since the talks last left off".

While Mr Morrison is optimistic they can move things along, he cautioned it may take longer than the world watching on would like.

China's ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, said on Wednesday his country does not want a trade war but would "fight to the end if needed".

Mr Morrison and Mr Trump are also expected to discuss the prime minister's G20 initiative for stronger global cooperation on stopping terrorists and violent extremists using social media platforms.

The two leaders will also discuss developments in the Middle East, including with Iran, and the situation with North Korea.

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