US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive in Cairns. Picture: Stewart McLean
US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen arrive in Cairns. Picture: Stewart McLean

Trump’s right-hand man arrives in Queensland

US VICE President Mike Pence has jetted into Cairns amid escalating fears a US-China trade spat will trigger a "domino effect" into cold war in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr Pence aboard Air Force Two touched down in the city on Friday night ahead of this weekend's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Pence's 20-vehicle motorcade stretched 150m long on the airport tarmac, before it swept in a high-speed convoy through the city.

United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, the Second Lady, wave as they arrive in Cairns. AAP Image/Brian Cassey
United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, the Second Lady, wave as they arrive in Cairns. AAP Image/Brian Cassey

It included two US-imported black Cadillac limousines and five blacked-out Secret Service Suburban 4WDs with Maryland number plates and a command vehicle with satellite array.

Six buses, an ambulance, a fire truck, six police motorbikes and six marked police cars made up the escort.

Mr Pence's arrival Down Under comes after he told the East Asia Summit in Singapore in a thinly-veiled swipe how "empire and aggression have no place in the Indo-Pacific".

 

United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, the Second Lady, wave as they arrive in Cairns. AAP Image/Brian Cassey
United States Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, the Second Lady, wave as they arrive in Cairns. AAP Image/Brian Cassey

"China's militarisation and territorial expansion in the South China Sea is illegal and dangerous,'' he said.

"It threatens the sovereignty of many nations and endangers the prosperity of the world."

Australian Army sappers believed to be from Townsville's 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment emerge from two vans before going through a service entrance below the Hilton Hotel in Cairns ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence's arrival. Picture: Chris Calcino
Australian Army sappers believed to be from Townsville's 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment emerge from two vans before going through a service entrance below the Hilton Hotel in Cairns ahead of US Vice President Mike Pence's arrival. Picture: Chris Calcino

US Secret Service, AFP, counter-terrorism officers, sniffer dogs and uniformed police made up a huge security cordon outside the Hilton in preparation for his arrival.

"We're not going to take any chances," Queensland Police Chief Superintendent Kev Guteridge said.

"Any possible contingency you can think of, and those you can't, we've put in place. The world has changed in the way we police to 30 or 40 years ago, we've put in sufficient security to make certain it'll be safe."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also in the region ahead of the summit, laid a wreath at the Darwin Cenotaph overlooking the city's harbour nearly 77 years after Japan's military bombed it.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, lays a wreath along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Cenotaph War Memorial in Darwin. Picture: AP
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, lays a wreath along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Cenotaph War Memorial in Darwin. Picture: AP

Australian PM Scott Morrison laid the wreath with Mr Abe, who is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Darwin which was bombed in February 1942 duringWorld War II.

Mr Abe and Mr Morrison walked together in Darwin's Bicentenntial Park to the cenotaph for a solemn military ceremony including the playing of the Last Post.

Today Mr Abe will honour his country's war dead and visit the memorial of the 80-crew Japanese submarine I-124, which was sunk off Darwin in January 1942.

Mr Morrison has described Mr Abe's visit as "deeply symbolic and significant and it will build on our two countries' strong and enduring friendship as well as our economic, security, community and historical ties."

Crowds wave as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for his visit to the Butuka Academy school in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Picture: AP
Crowds wave as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for his visit to the Butuka Academy school in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Picture: AP

The PNG capital of Port Moresby was alive with colour as 1000 tribes and traditions from 22 provinces performed at the National Football Stadium to mark the opening of the Leader's Summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the "China-PNG Friendship Road" - a six-lane highway in Port Moresby dubbed by locals the "road to nowhere" running from PNG Parliament House to a dead end in a quiet suburb.