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Turnbull lobbies Hong Kong on North Korea

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November 12, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull has left Vietnam and arrived in Hong Kong to continue regional talks.

Malcolm Turnbull will attempt to shift gears and shake off the dual citizenship saga crippling his government during a brief visit to Hong Kong.

The prime minister will look to chalk up some wins after suffering a bruising few days at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam.

Mr Turnbull is the first prime minister to pay an official visit to Hong Kong since Bob Hawke in 1984, touching down overnight.

He is due to squeeze in a meet and greet with expatriates, with Hong Kong home to the second-largest concentration of Australians overseas behind London.

North Korea will undoubtedly be front of mind when he meets with Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam on Sunday.

Australia is determined to stop Pyongyang exploiting busy trade hubs including Hong Kong to raise revenue for its illegal nuclear weapons program.

"The international community must work together to apply maximum pressure on North Korea if we are combat this threat," Mr Turnbull said in a statement.

He will also be pushing for progress on a free trade deal with Hong Kong, which is Australia's fifth largest source of investment and eighth largest export destination.

Australia notched up a trade pact with Peru on the sidelines of the APEC summit, but a more complex 11-nation agreement was scuttled when Canada got cold feet.

Mr Turnbull was left bitterly disappointed, having hoping while in Vietnam to ratify the revived Trans-Pacific Partnership earlier abandoned by Donald Trump.

Negotiations have since resumed but there is no longer a finish line in sight, with sources saying Canada won't agree to a timeline for finalising the deal.

The prime minister has been hobbled by the citizenship circus consuming Canberra so far during his Asia trip.

The resignation of Liberal MP John Alexander over his British ties has added more fuel to the political fire, stripping the Turnbull government of its parliamentary majority.

Mr Turnbull has ruled out cutting his trip short to deal with the drama back home, and will be hoping for some clear air before travelling to Manila for the East Asia Summit.

The prime minister is due to meet several high-powered leaders including Mr Trump and controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during the conference.

"These are very important meetings, huge priorities," Mr Turnbull told reporters on Saturday.

"That's where Australia has to be present and that is a time when the leader has to be present."

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