Marking the 28th anniversary of the Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in the 63rd year of the United States-Australia Alliance, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, and Minister for Defence David Johnston met in Washington, D.C. on November 20 to further the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and Australia.
The United States-Australia Alliance is based on a proud history of shared values and a long tradition of cooperation at all levels of government, business, and civil society.
The Alliance remains an anchor of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
The breadth and depth of this unshakeable partnership is a reflection of more than six decades of trust, respect, and friendship.
Australians and Americans have fought side-by-side in every major conflict since World War I on battlefields from Europe to the Pacific.
The U.S.-Australia Alliance is strong, vibrant, and enduring, forming the core of a close and dynamic partnership.
The United States and Australia have a vital stake in, and share a common commitment to, the security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and are working together closely as the United States rebalances to the region.
The United States recognizes and welcomes the significant contributions Australia has made as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council this year.
Australia is pleased to assume the role of G-20 host starting in December 2013. The United States and Australia are committed to ensuring the G-20 remains focused on generating sustained growth and jobs, resisting protectionism, and enhancing financial resilience.
This AUSMIN has been an opportunity to reaffirm our shared commitment and obligations, as well as to assess and advance common approaches to regional and international issues.
The United States-Australia Alliance
The United States and Australia are committed to modernizing our Alliance by working together to support the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
With the signing today of a joint Statement of Principles that provides a common vision for advancing the U.S. force posture initiatives in northern Australia, the United States and Australia deepen our long-standing bilateral defense cooperation and reaffirm commitments to both the Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America, signed on September 1, 1951 (ANZUS), and the advancement of peaceful, secure, and prosperous Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions while adapting to an evolving strategic environment and non-traditional security challenges.
The United States and Australia discussed their continued efforts to implement the U.S. force posture initiatives in a manner consistent with both countries' regional security objectives, including the common goal of increasing practical cooperation between Australia and the United States and other regional countries.
The two countries agreed to commence negotiations on a binding agreement to support future defense cooperation involving the U.S. rotational presence in northern Australia, including activities such as: joint and combined training, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and combined exercises in Australia and multilateral engagement in the broader region.
The United States and Australia agreed to work towards full implementation of the U.S. force posture initiatives involving rotational U.S. Marine Corps deployments and increased rotations of U.S. Air Force aircraft in northern Australia, including substantial progress towards rotations of a full Marine Air Ground Task Force of around 2,500 U.S. Marine Corps personnel and equipment. They also agreed to continue examining opportunities for future naval cooperation in Australia.
Planning, Interoperability and Capability Development
For more than sixty years, the United States and Australia have strengthened their bilateral cooperation and interoperability. Australia is one of only two countries that have entered into a Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty (DTCT) with the United States, serving to advance our alliance by facilitating interoperability, industry collaboration, and innovation. The two countries encourage the use of the recently implemented DTCT as a mechanism to enable Australian and U.S. forces to obtain more quickly the technology needed to meet shared security challenges.
The United States and Australia agreed to enhance collaboration between their respective defense planning processes to identify new opportunities for cooperation across the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. They discussed enhancing the interoperability of Australian and U.S. forces, especially as this relates to a common commitment to cooperation on combat and transport aircraft, helicopters, and submarine systems and weapons, with special focus on future submarine efforts.
They pledged to strengthen and regularize whole-of-government participation in the biennial Talisman Saber exercise series, by enhancing the civilian participation in future exercises, to strengthen interoperability and a combined capacity to deal with post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction, as well as the delivery of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The United States and Australia have a history of close cooperation in space. Today Secretary Hagel and Minister Johnston signed a Memorandum of Understanding governing the arrangements for the relocation and joint operation of a unique, highly advanced U.S. space surveillance telescope to Western Australia. The United States and Australia will jointly operate the telescope beginning in 2016 to track space assets and debris, contribute to the safety and security of space-based systems on which we rely, and increase the coverage of space objects from the Southern Hemisphere.
The two defense leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to relocate in 2014 a U.S. C-Band space surveillance radar to Western Australia, and to explore ways to further leverage Australian space surveillance capabilities for combined benefit, consistent with the Space Situational Awareness Sharing Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier this year and the Space Situational Awareness Partnership signed in 2010. More broadly, the two countries will build upon defense cooperation with partners with a view towards establishing combined space operations.
The United States and Australia emphasized their intent to build on the 2010 Joint Statement on Space Security, in particular by working closely on pursuing transparency and confidence building measures, such as finalizing an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities to help strengthen the long-term sustainability, stability, safety, and security of the space environment.
The United States and Australia also encourage greater regional engagement on space security issues, including through further Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) Space Security Workshops.
Recognizing both the risks and opportunities of cyberspace, the United States and Australia pledged to continue to work closely together, including with the private sector, to address cyberspace threats facing Australia, the United States, and the wider international community, building on the 2011 Joint Statement on Cyberspace. They agreed to promote common understandings among states on norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace derived from existing international law.
Ballistic Missile Defense
The United States and Australia agreed to examine opportunities to expand their cooperation on ballistic missile defense, including working together to identify potential Australian contributions to ballistic missile defense in the Asia-Pacific region.
They agreed to continue cooperative research on technologies to counter ballistic missile threats, and continue their consultation regarding options that increase capability development in this area.
The two countries will continue to consult as the United States develops its phased adaptive approaches to regional ballistic missile defense, which will allow missile defense to be adapted to the threats unique to the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Regions
The Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions are increasingly important to global economic growth and international security. The United States and Australia underscored their firm commitment to enduring, comprehensive engagement with the countries in these regions.
The United States and Australia strongly support the promotion of regional peace, stability, and security, and agreed to continue their contributions to development, the promotion and protection of human rights, and the advancement of democracy and economic integration.
The United States and Australia are working closely together and with other partners to build disaster relief capacity in the region. The recent disaster in the Philippines underscores the importance of these efforts. Our officials, armed forces, and humanitarian responders are working together to assist the Philippines, with air transport, medical support, power generation and restoration of other essential services. This coordination is fundamental to supporting the Philippines authorities' efforts to quickly respond to the humanitarian crisis, catastrophic destruction, and loss of life caused by Typhoon Haiyan. As U.S. Marines rotate through Darwin, our forces will be able to work together along with our regional partners to continue to support stability, including through the provision of humanitarian and disaster relief support to the region.
Peace, stability, security, and good governance
The two countries emphasized the importance they attach to working with Indonesia as a regional leader and also to the central role of ASEAN in promoting regional peace and security in Southeast Asia. They agreed to seek opportunities to increase defense cooperation with Indonesia, including on humanitarian and disaster relief operations. More broadly, they committed to work closely to develop new, mutually beneficial areas of engagement with Southeast Asian militaries.
The United States and Australia agree to deepen cooperation with Japan through the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue, the Security and Defense Cooperation Forum, and other fora to advance shared objectives in relation to global and regional peace and security. They agree to support Japan's efforts to re-examine its security and defense policies to contribute to enhanced regional peace and security, and increase information sharing with Japan to bolster trilateral cooperative defense and diplomacy efforts. The two countries undertook to work with Japan to improve regional security and defense capacities in the region to help prepare for humanitarian and disaster relief contingencies as well as to promote freedom of navigation and regional maritime security.
The United States and Australia affirm they will continue to enhance trust and confidence through dialogue with China on strategic security issues and will encourage China to play a responsible and constructive role in support of regional stability and prosperity, including through adherence to international law. They are dedicated to working with China to secure progress on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The two countries committed to intensifying their collaboration with the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the promotion of stability on the Korean Peninsula. In the wider region and globally this could be achieved through practical defense engagement with the ROK, counter-proliferation efforts and working together in the UN, on maritime cooperation, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.
The United States and Australia insist that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) comply with its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and its international obligations under resolutions of the UN Security Council. The DPRK must take irreversible steps to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete and verifiable manner and to immediately cease all related activities, suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program, and refrain from proliferation of proscribed items and technologies.
They commend the UN Commission of Inquiry for its important work on behalf of the international community, which is deeply concerned about the welfare of the North Korean people. The United States and Australia call on the DPRK to address concerns over its human rights violations, including the abduction of citizens of other countries.
The United States and Australia recognize India's place as a regional strategic and economic power, and will continue to work with India on areas of mutual interest, including the transition of Afghanistan toward greater stability and prosperity, and the development of a more integrated trade corridor from Central Asia through to Southeast Asia. They agree to strengthen cooperation with India through actions to improve their ability to address real-life challenges in the areas of maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster operations.
The United States and Australia welcome the commitment by the Government of Burma/Myanmar to reach a nation-wide ceasefire with the ethnic armed groups and encourage an all-inclusive political dialogue with stakeholders to achieve a lasting peace. They welcome progress by the Government of Burma/Myanmar in improving its protection of freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, and encouraged further efforts to uphold the rights of all individuals in Burma/Myanmar. Both countries look forward to President Thein Sein honoring his commitment to release all political prisoners by the end of the year, and urge the government to cease new arrests of peaceful activists.
The United States and Australia will work together with Fiji and other international partners to support credible elections in Fiji and a return to democracy there by September 2014.
The United States and Australia recognize the Pacific Island countries' importance to regional security, and their leadership on issues of global concern, including climate change and environmental stewardship. They will continue to work cooperatively with Pacific Island countries to promote sustainable development, environmental protection, good governance, democracy, and gender equality.
Global and regional maritime security
The United States and Australia promote the importance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce, and freedom of navigation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
The United States and Australia encourage ASEAN countries and China to reach agreement on a substantive and meaningful Code of Conduct in the South China Sea as soon as possible. They support measures to reduce tensions and to prevent or manage miscalculations or accidents in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, including by improving maritime communications.
The United States and Australia call on all claimants to refrain from coercion, intimidation, and other actions that could increase tensions, and to clarify and pursue territorial claims and accompanying maritime claims in the South China Sea peacefully and in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. They reaffirmed their commitment to oppose any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea.
The United States and Australia agreed to continue to work cooperatively in the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF). The United States welcomes Australia's decision to undertake practical regional training on maritime environmental awareness as part of the Expanded ASEAN Seafarer Training Initiative (EAST).
They also emphasize the importance of freedom of navigation through the Indian Ocean and will continue their cooperation on counter-piracy in the Indian Ocean Rim.
Economic integration and development
Our robust U.S.-Australia trade and investment relationship is deep and time-tested, and bilateral trade and investment activity continues to grow rapidly.
The United States and Australia understand that regional economic integration and development are key to the future prosperity of both nations and the region, and support economic initiatives that foster growth and market openness, and deepen economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.
The United States and Australia reaffirm their intent to conclude a high-standard and comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2013 that will drive a significant expansion of trade and investment, create new jobs, increase regional and global supply chains, improve protection of labor rights, and provide a potential pathway to an eventual Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.
They will continue to collaborate with Japan and the Republic of Korea to advance regional economic integration and prosperity, including through the coordinated use of foreign assistance and support for regional institutions. The two countries also reaffirm their commitment to work with China to support the region's economic growth while encouraging China to provide a level playing field for trade and investment and to abide by the rules of the international economic system.
The United States and Australia will seek closer cooperation with India in global economic fora such as the G-20 on areas of mutual interest, such as infrastructure financing. They encourage Burma/Myanmar to advance its candidacy for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and will work together to promote responsible investment in Burma/Myanmar.
The United States and Australia acknowledge the vital role that effective regional architecture plays in the promotion and support of their goals. They support ASEAN centrality in the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), and Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum. They regard the leader-level EAS as a premier regional forum for strategic dialogue and practical cooperation on political, security and relevant economic issues. They agree to cooperate more closely with ASEAN and other EAS members to develop the EAS security and political agenda and its institutional arrangements.
The United States and Australia continue to support APEC as the premier forum for advancing trade liberalization and a key forum for advancing economic integration across the region.
The two countries will work together to strengthen and support closer links between ASEAN-centered institutions and fora, including EAS and ARF, the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and the ADMM-Plus to promote regional stability.
The United States and Australia will work cooperatively in the ADMM-Plus and ARF, and with other partners in the region to support practical activities aimed at building confidence, and greater regional capacity to promote security and maritime domain awareness, and to engage in preventive diplomacy.
They agree to work with partners in the region to support ARF's evolution, including through development of a preventive diplomacy capability, to complement its confidence building activities and advance it closer to a mechanism for conflict resolution, as envisioned in its founding documents.
The two countries are committed to supporting the leading role of the ADMM-Plus, the premier multilateral defense institution in the region, in promoting regional security and stability through fostering direct military-to-military dialogue and practical defense cooperation, including through capacity building in areas such as counter-terrorism, countering the threat from improvised explosive devices, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and maritime security.
The United States and Australia commend Indonesia's leadership in ASEAN, EAS, and the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and its successful chairing of APEC in 2013, and as vice chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) chaired by Australia.
They will work with India to identify areas of potential trilateral cooperation in order to strengthen regional and global fora, in particular to strengthen further the agenda of the EAS and the G20, and advance common objectives through IORA.
The two countries also underline the primacy of the Pacific Islands Forum as the Pacific's premier political organization and key forum for leaders and senior officials to set the policy agenda for regional cooperation.
The United States and Australia share a common approach on issues of global concern and are dedicated to continue working together to confront international challenges.
The United States and Australia provide development assistance to partners in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa, and are promoting enhanced economic integration across the vital Asia-Pacific region, including through the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The United States and Australia reaffirm their commitment to ensuring peace and security throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our joint diplomatic and wider efforts – bilaterally, in regional bodies, and through the UN – address challenges to international peace and security, and promote mutual understanding through educational and cultural exchanges.
The two countries are working to advance respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democratic values worldwide.
The United States and Australia pay tribute to the laudable achievements of U.S. and Australian armed forces in Afghanistan, and honor the tremendous sacrifices that these men and women in uniform have made in pursuit of peace, prosperity, and security for all Afghans.
The two countries will maintain their strong cooperation to advance the process of transition of full security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces, including building on Australia's and the United States' previous joint efforts in Uruzgan province. They reaffirm their intent to continue to provide security and development assistance, and encourage progress on important governance and economic reforms, to support Afghanistan in achieving its goal of self-reliance.
The United States and Australia discussed their support for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2118 and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Executive Council Decision [EC-M-33/DEC.1] on the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons program.
They call for the convening of the Geneva II conference to end the conflict in Syria and establish the framework for a political transition as soon as possible, and for all parties to the conflict, and particularly the Syrian authorities, to implement the provisions on humanitarian access in the October 2 UN Security Council Presidential Statement on Syria.
The United States and Australia urge the Syrian Government to cooperate with efforts towards political transition in Syria and urge opposition groups to work together to build a post-Asad Syria that is democratic, tolerant and inclusive and responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syria's people, as well as to ensure that injustices suffered during the conflict are addressed in accordance with the rule of law, including by holding accountable those responsible for serious international crimes.
The United States and Australia call on Iran to continue engaging constructively with the P5+1 process to address international concerns about the nature of its nuclear program, and encourage Iran to comply with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors and to cooperate fully and without delay with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear program. The United States and Australia urge Iran to take concrete steps to improve the country's human rights situation and to cooperate fully with the UN Special Rapporteur.
The two countries remain committed to working with the Israelis and the Palestinians to press forward our shared objective of a two-state solution. They will work together with the UN and with international partners to support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and to ensure every step taken aims at reducing tension and creating a climate for peace, without prejudging any final status issues.
The United States and Australia will continue their support for UN and African-led efforts towards peace, security and prosperity in Africa, and our close cooperation with African states and organizations on combating the scourge of terrorism, both within Africa and beyond.
They reaffirm their commitment to continue close cooperation against the threat posed to global and regional security by the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
They reaffirm the value of their close cooperation on conflict prevention and stabilization in fragile countries and regions.
Australia offered to host the next AUSMIN.
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