Donald Trump announces newest US warship to be named after Canberra
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Donald Trump announces newest US warship to be named after Canberra

The newest American navy vessel will have a touch of Australia on board, if only in name.

During a joint press conference in Washington DC with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, US President Donald Trump announced the US Navy's new warship will be named the USS Canberra.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and United States of America President Donald Trump shake hands as they address the media during a joint press conference in the East Room at the White House during the Prime Minister's official visit to Washington DC.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and United States of America President Donald Trump shake hands as they address the media during a joint press conference in the East Room at the White House during the Prime Minister's official visit to Washington DC.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The USS Canberra will be an Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship, and will replace its former namesake, which was decommissioned in the 1970s.

It is only the US navy vessel to be named for a city outside of the US.

President Trump announcing the new US navy ship will be USS Canberra.

President Trump announcing the new US navy ship will be USS Canberra.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

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Speaking at the press conference early on Saturday morning Australian time, President Trump said the ship was a symbol of the bond between the US and Australia.

"As she sails the opens seas, the new USS Canberra will be a symbol to all who cross her path of the enduring friendship between the United States and Australia," he said.

"There is no closer friendship."

While the President may have bungled the pronunciation of Australia's capital during the press conference, Prime Minister Turnbull said the naming was "an extraordinary statement of commitment".

"I know the USS Canberra will be a worthy successor to both her Australian namesake and her American predecessor," President Trump said.

The former USS Canberra was named after the Australian vessel HMAS Canberra, a warship that was involved in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, and later sunk in the Battle of Savo Island.

The announcement by the US President comes as the two leaders try to smooth over a dispute - one year after the pair's infamous phone call, where Mr Trump accused the Prime Minister of forcing him into the "worst deal ever", referring to a refugee-swap agreement between the two countries.

Earlier, the two leaders met in the White House before a working lunch alongside top advisers.

Prime Minister Turnbull emphasised the "100 years of mateship" between the two nations during the meeting.

"It's 100 years of mateship that we're celebrating mateship, 100 years ago for the first time Australians and American soldiers went into battle together on July 4, 1918 and we have been fighting side by side in freedom's cause ever since," he said.

"So 100 years of mateship and 100 more to come."

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is also travelling with the Prime Minister as part of a large Australian delegation, meeting with many US officials.

Mr Barr told The Canberra Times the new vessel is of great significance.

"The largest ship in the Australian Navy is called Canberra. To have another vessel bearing our city's name can only spread global awareness of Canberra," he said.

"It's also a symbol of the close bond between our two nations and two capitals."

Andrew Brown is a journalist at the Sunday Canberra Times. Andrew has worked at the Canberra Times since 2016.