Malcolm Turnbull (right) said he jumped at the chance to have a more intimate discussion with Mr Trump. (Reuters: Ludovic Marin)
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hitched a ride in The Beast — the US President’s armoured, high-tech fortress on wheels.
- The fortified car is one of an identical fleet of vehicles that reportedly cost $1.97 million each
- “We talked about a number of things, including some old mutual friends,” Malcolm Turnbull
- Mr Turnbull spent time trying to convince Mr Xi to take action on North Korea
Mr Turnbull and Donald Trump, along with their wives Lucy and Melania, cruised around the streets of Hamburg on Friday evening after a full day at the G20 meeting of the world’s richest nations.
The fortified car is one of an identical fleet of vehicles that reportedly cost $1.97 million each.
They have thick bullet-proof glass and are fitted with weapons and emergency medical supplies.
“I felt very safe,” Mr Turnbull laughed afterwards.
Mr Trump’s invitation was spontaneous, and Mr Turnbull said he jumped at the chance to have a more intimate discussion with Mr Trump.
“It was very kind of him,” Mr Turnbull said.
“We went from the reception to the concert theatre, it was an opportunity to have a good private discussion.
“We talked about a number of things, including some old mutual friends.”
Turnbull, Xi discuss North Korea
Malcolm Turnbull hitched a ride in the US President’s car, known as the “Beast”, in Hamburg. (AAP: Lukas Coch)
While a ride in The Beast may have been a highlight, G20 host German Chancellor Angela Merkel hoped to bring the leaders together with a rendition of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
What is the Beast?
- The Beast is the nickname given to the official car of the President of the United States
- It is fitted with military-grade armour at least 10cm thick, pump action shotguns and puncture-proof tyres
- The car contains a store of blood matching the sitting president’s blood-type for emergencies
- The current version of the car was debuted at Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009
- A new version of the Cadillac limousine is currently being developed by General Motors
- US media expected the new car to make its debut at Mr Trump’s inauguration, but it did not make an appearance
The orchestra recited Ode to Joy in the fourth movement, but the meeting was anything but.
North Korea’s provocative nuclear tests, terrorism and climate cast a long shadow over the talks.
It is on the sidelines of the official meetings where the real business happens — relationships are forged, frank discussions are had and plans are hatched.
Mr Turnbull said he spent time with China’s President Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe as well as Mr Trump.
He discussed North Korea with all three, but spent time trying to convince Mr Xi to take action.
“I’ve had a good discussion with him about North Korea and repeated my very grave concerns about the situation there and why I believe China has a particular responsibility,” Mr Turnbull said.
“China’s position is that the situation is not as straightforward as others assert and that their influence is not as great as others assert it is.”
Meanwhile, Ms Merkel said the negotiators “still have a great deal of work ahead of them” to formulate the summit’s closing communique planned for Saturday.