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New Zealand's PM tells of 'sensible, polite' talk with Trump

New Zealand's prime minister has said he told Donald Trump he disagreed with his travel and refugee ban, but the conversation remained amicable.

Last week the US president had a testy exchange with Australian premier Malcolm Turnbull over a deal his country reached with the Obama administration to resettle refugees in America.

Mr Trump later tweeted that the deal was "dumb".

By contrast, Bill English told Radio New Zealand that his 15-minute call with Mr Trump on Monday was a "sensible, polite discussion" that affirmed the good relationship between the countries.

Mr English said he told Mr Trump he disagreed with the contested travel ban but did not berate him over it.

"I'm not there to scold him, although a lot of people might like us to do that," he said.

Mr English told the radio station that they also discussed China and North Korea.

"Clearly the US president has some views about China, particularly over trade, over the South China Sea," he said.

He said Mr Trump told him it was important that countries work together to ensure North Korea did not cause trouble.

Australia and New Zealand are part of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing programme with Canada, Britain and the US.

Mr English said he told Mr Trump it was important that the US maintain its presence and interest in the Asia-Pacific area, particularly after pulling out of a regional trade deal.

The White House said Mr Trump affirmed "the US commitment to strong and active engagement in Asia" and thanked New Zealand for its contributions to international peace and security.

Mr English said Mr Trump also talked about the importance of US border security.

"The US has something of a view that none of those pressures exist in New Zealand," Mr English said. "But actually they do."

AP

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