Malcolm Turnbull’s Washington trip will be highest-level visit by an Australian leader in more than a decade, in a signal the United States is eager to keep its key allies such as Australia close.

Mr Turnbull’s visit later this month is expected to include lunch with President Donald Trump at the White House and will be badged as an “official” visit - the first at such level since John Howard met with George W. Bush in 2006.

USSC director of foreign policy and defence Ashley Townshend is quoted in this Sydney Morning Herald report.