Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull face China test

Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump buried the hatchet in New York last week to assure that the US-Australia alliance is on firm footing.

As Trump’s business confidant, Blackstone Group chairman Stephen Schwarzman, personally told Turnbull in New York on Friday within earshot of The Australian Financial Review, Trump was “in good form for you” and “he was really trying”.

“So I hope he succeeded,” Schwarzman said.

Yet no matter the success of the political theatre of the Prime Minister and President lavishing praise on each other more than three months after their tense phone call, the US-Australia relationship will face far more difficult tests in the first term of the Trump administration.

US-China frictions are likely to be revived this year after a relative calm period, according to former president Barack Obama’s Asia adviser Evan Medeiros.

“US-China tensions will emerge as early as this [US] summer and at least by the end of the year, driven by China’s under-performance on both pressuring North Korea and lowering barriers to US goods and services exports,” Medeiros notes in a new analysis for Eurasia Group.