We met today in the city of Perth—Australia's Indian Ocean capital—to reaffirm the value of the Australia-US Alliance in helping to shape the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific, while also contributing to global security, good governance and the rule of law. Our commitment to the region and its future remains enduring and steadfast. Here on the shores of the Indian Ocean, we have committed to continued cooperation on security matters throughout the Asia Pacific, including through consolidating progress in the force posture initiatives announced by Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama in November 2011. Our bilateral cooperation, including on trade and investment, international development, education, science and technology, and cultural ties, is deep and continues to expand, reflecting the dynamism and energy of our two countries.
Over the past year, we have both reaffirmed in various ways the importance of our engagement in the Asia Pacific. The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper released on 28 October charts a course for even deeper Australian regional engagement. President Obama reinforced a broad US commitment to the region in his announcement in Canberra last November as part of a rebalance to the Asia Pacific.
This year, we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty's entry into force. Our Alliance plays a vital role in promoting regional and global security, while advancing each country's defence and security interests. Earlier this morning, as we laid wreaths at the King's Park Cenotaph, we reflected on the enduring strength of our Alliance and on those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.
We look forward to working together on the United Nations Security Council during Australia's term in 2013-14, noting the value of the experience, expertise and regional perspectives Australia will bring to the Council.
Recognising the importance of regular high-level consultations on foreign and strategic policy, we decided to hold regular senior officials' level talks on East Asia, the Pacific, and counter-proliferation. These talks are to inform AUSMIN discussions.
In our talks today, we highlighted the following priorities:
1. Protect and promote Asia Pacific security
This dynamic region is increasingly the driver of the global economy, and the region's security remains central to global security and prosperity. We discussed the progress of the US rebalance toward the region. We underscored the vital roles played by Japan, the Republic of Korea and the members of ASEAN in forging a strong and resilient region. We welcomed a strong, prosperous and peaceful China, which plays a constructive role in promoting regional security and prosperity. We recognised the growing importance of India in the region and the Indian Ocean's importance to trade, maritime security, and strategic and defence planning. We welcomed Myanmar/Burma's ongoing democratic and economic reform process, which is of great significance for the region. We reaffirmed that we do not take a position on competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. We share a common interest, with other members of the international community, in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce. We reaffirmed that we do not take a position on competing claims for sovereignty in the East China Sea and urged that the issue be resolved through peaceful means, free from any form of coercion or aggression. We reaffirmed our commitment to work together, and with the governments and peoples of Pacific Island countries, to promote growth, sustainable development, respect for human rights, good governance and security.
We affirmed our intent to:
- work with Japan to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in East Asia, particularly through the suite of Trilateral Strategic Dialogue activities;
- conduct trilateral defence exercises with Japan to enhance security through air, land and maritime cooperation;
- intensify our collaboration with the Republic of Korea in the promotion of stability on the Korean Peninsula, in the wider region, and globally, including by working together in the UN Security Council, as well as on international peacekeeping operations, counter-proliferation, maritime cooperation and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief;
- continue to build positive, cooperative and comprehensive relations with China, including through strong economic engagement and encouraging progress on human rights;
- strengthen military-to-military relations with China and encourage China to exhibit greater transparency in its ongoing military modernisation;
- acknowledge Indonesia's strong regional leadership, including through ASEAN and the East Asia Summit, and support its chairing of APEC in 2013;
- continue to work with Indonesia on increased defence cooperation, including on humanitarian and disaster relief responses;
- continue to urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to denuclearise in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, including by immediately ceasing all uranium enrichment activity and light water reactor construction, and to abide fully by the terms of the 19 September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks;
- call on the DPRK to fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions, abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program and refrain from weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related proliferation;
- continue to call on all South China Sea claimants to refrain from the use of force or coercive methods and to clarify and pursue their territorial claims and accompanying maritime rights peacefully and in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea;
- express concern over the potential for miscalculation or accidents and welcome steps by all sides to defuse the situation in the East China Sea;
- support India's growing regional and global role and maximise opportunities to work together in pursuit of global peace and prosperity, including through multilateral exercises to enhance Indian Ocean cooperation in maritime security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations;
- continue to support Myanmar/Burma's democratic and economic reforms, including by deepening political, cultural and economic engagement;
- encourage the Myanmar/Burma Government to continue its efforts to implement full political freedoms, peacefully resolve ethnic conflicts, including the unrest in Rakhine and Kachin States, adhere to all UN Security Council resolutions, and cease all military relations and cooperation with the DPRK;
- continue to work closely with regional countries to fight organised transnational crime networks, in particular terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, corruption and people smuggling;
- work jointly to support Fiji's return to democracy, through an open and inclusive constitutional process and free and fair elections;
- continue to support the protection and sustainable management of the Pacific's fisheries and enhance maritime security, in order to deliver equitable outcomes for Pacific Island countries; and
- continue to work towards a successful conclusion to negotiations to extend the US Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries (also known as the US Tuna Treaty).
2. Support regional dialogue
We underscored the importance of regional institutions in promoting peace, stability and security, encouraging economic integration and development and protecting human rights. We noted the significant challenges these institutions could help address, including in areas such as health, education, natural disasters, energy security, the environment and maritime security.
We affirmed our intent to:
- continue to support the leader-level East Asia Summit as a premier regional forum for strategic dialogue and practical cooperation on political, economic and security issues;
- continue to work together to strengthen and support closer links between other ASEAN-centred institutions, including the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, in promoting regional stability;
- continue to support the leading role of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), the premier military engagement framework in the region, in promoting regional security and stability through fostering direct military-to-military dialogue and practical cooperation;
- continue to work together in the ADMM-Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum to support practical activities aimed at building confidence, capacity in preventive diplomacy and interoperability as well as bolstering the capacity of regional militaries;
- continue to support efforts by ASEAN and China to develop a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea and welcome early progress towards this;
- continue to support the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights;
- continue to work with India to identify areas of potential cooperation between the United States, Australia and India to strengthen regional and global fora, in particular to strengthen further the agenda of the East Asia Summit and advance common objectives through the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), in which the United States recently obtained Dialogue Partner status;
- cooperate to boost the capacity of Timor Leste's Government and its path to ASEAN membership; and
- support robust enforcement of international anti-corruption agreements to which we are parties, including the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, acknowledging that Australian and US companies play an important role in establishing the highest standards of commercial conduct and thereby contribute to good governance across the region.
We reaffirmed our support for economic institutions that foster growth and market openness, and deepen economic integration in the Asia Pacific and globally.
We reaffirmed our intent to:
- conclude as rapidly as possible a high-standard and comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership that would drive a significant expansion of trade and investment, create new jobs, increase regional and global supply chains, and provide a potential pathway to a free trade area of the Asia Pacific;
- work together as Australia's G20 host year approaches in 2014 to ensure that the G20 remains focused on generating sustained growth and jobs, resisting protectionism while remaining flexible in response to crises; and
- continue to support APEC's agenda of advancing trade liberalisation and economic integration across the region.
3. Advance global security
We reiterated our continued commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan that is not a safe haven for international terrorists. We acknowledged the achievements and paid tribute to the sacrifices of Australian and US military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan. We reiterated our commitment to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) transition strategy which was agreed in Lisbon and reaffirmed at the ISAF/NATO Leaders' Summit in Chicago in May. We also confirmed our commitment to a post-2014 mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and recognised that an appropriate funding mechanism to sustain the ANSF into the future is critical. We acknowledged the important contribution Pakistan can make to a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan and to stability in South Asia.
We concurred that the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and would be highly destabilising to regional peace and security. We shared concern over Iran's financial and military support for the Assad regime in Syria as well as the serious human rights violations in Iran. We underlined the importance of continuing close cooperation on efforts to reduce the threats posed to global security by the proliferation of WMD. We highlighted the impressive counter-terrorism successes by Southeast Asian nations in challenging dangerous terror networks, and remain committed to cooperating closely with regional partners on bilateral and international counter-terrorism strategies. We underscored our commitment to completing the negotiation at the United Nations of a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that recognises that the international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity and holds all countries to standards that will improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them.
We are appalled by the violence and humanitarian situation in Syria, and are deeply concerned at the impact of the conflict on broader regional stability. We are also deeply concerned by continued reports of war crimes and gross violations of international human rights by all parties to the conflict in Syria. We stressed that the Assad regime in Syria would be held accountable by the international community if it were to make the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons.
We decided to intensify cooperation to meet emerging security challenges in space and cyberspace. We reflected on the importance of space-enabled systems and cyberspace to our economies, societies and national security, and affirmed our common interest in ensuring the safety, stability, sustainability and security of space and cyberspace.
We noted the impact of rising energy consumption in Asia on regional and global energy security, which is vital to continued economic growth. Energy supply security, including from renewables and gas, will help deliver continued prosperity and regional stability.
We affirmed our intent to:
- continue the important progress already made on the transition of security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces, including through Australia's and the United States' joint efforts in Uruzgan province;
- continue to support Afghanistan's security and development after transition and help it take the steps required to put itself on a path to meet its development and governance goals;
- continue to work with Pakistan to help it address ongoing security, economic and development challenges;
- continue to call on Iran to engage constructively with the P5+1 process and build international confidence that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature;
- urge Iran to cease its ongoing military and financial support for the Assad regime;
- continue to express serious concern over the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Iran and urge Iran to cooperate fully with the UN Special Rapporteur;
- urge the Syrian Government to begin a process of political transition, and urge opposition elements in Syria to build a common vision of a post-Assad Syria that is democratic, tolerant and inclusive and immediately responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syria's people, as well as to ensure that injustices sustained in the course of the conflict are addressed;
- call for Syria's chemical weapons stocks to be secured pending destruction under outside supervision and never used under any circumstances;
- maintain our collaboration on global counter-terrorism initiatives to meet the persistent and adaptable threat of violent extremism, and our commitment to the Global Counter-terrorism Forum;
- work together at the March 2013 UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty to successfully complete the negotiation;
- continue to build on our 2010 Joint Statement on Space Security, in particular by working closely on pursuing transparency and confidence building measures, such as negotiating an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities aimed at promoting responsible behaviour and strengthening stability in space;
- encourage greater regional engagement in space security issues, such as through the Australia/Vietnam initiative, co-sponsored by the United States, to hold an ASEAN Regional Forum Space Security Workshop;
- recognising both the risks and opportunities of cyberspace, continue to work closely together and with the private sector to address mutual cyberspace threats, building on our 2011 Joint Statement on Cyberspace; and
- advance the development of a common understanding of the international norms for cyberspace, within the framework of existing international law.
4. Promote global development
We emphasised our shared commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as reflected in the USAID-AusAID Memorandum of Understanding on International Development Cooperation. We acknowledged the progress made in achieving the fundamental goal of reducing extreme poverty globally by half, but recognised that further global commitment is needed.
We recognised the challenges and opportunities of reform in Myanmar/Burma, and are working closely to encourage human development in that country and to resolve the status of stateless people. We reaffirmed our commitment to development in Afghanistan. Underscoring the centrality of gender equality to political, economic, social and human development, we reiterated our support for the empowerment of women and girls.
We continue to engage with traditional donors to address key country-specific, regional and global development challenges.
We affirmed our intent to:
- work closely to shape the development of a set of ambitious post-2015 global development goals;
- continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation between USAID and AusAID in line with the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between those two agencies;
- work together to promote social and economic development by jointly supporting the Three Millennium Development Goals Fund to improve maternal and child health and the Livelihood and Food Security Trust to assist the rural poor in Myanmar/Burma;
- promote effective and efficient coordination of development assistance to the Pacific consistent with the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination in the Pacific;
- promote the leadership role of women in political, economic and social development;
- cooperate in the Emerging Pandemic Threat program PREVENT to reduce the risks and spread of emerging infectious diseases in the Mekong region;
- jointly contribute to the control and elimination of malaria globally;
- jointly support initiatives that raise awareness of, and reduce the incidence of, trafficking in persons throughout Asia, including Southeast Asia;
- work together on the challenge of food security, recognising that it is an issue with potentially significant economic, political, social, environmental and broader security implications; and
- jointly support the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, a multi-stakeholder initiative involving governments, NGOs and companies, to provide guidance to extractive companies on maintaining the safety and security of their operations in a manner that respects human rights.
5. Enhance our bilateral defence cooperation
We emphasised that the Australia-US Alliance continues to play a vital role in shaping the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific and to deliver real benefits to each country's defence and national security. The Alliance is above all about practical cooperation and collaboration, whether through training and exercises, combined operations or intelligence sharing.
We discussed progress in implementing the US force posture initiatives in Australia announced by Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama in 2011. We welcomed the success of the first rotation of US Marine Corps personnel to northern Australia, and looked forward to the next rotation in 2013. We discussed our enhanced aircraft cooperation, which is expected to result in increased rotations of US aircraft through northern Australia.
This deepening of our defence cooperation through these initiatives is a natural evolution of our existing, long-standing cooperation and is aimed at supporting long-term peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. These initiatives will improve Australian and US military capabilities through combined training and exercises, enhance our ability to respond to regional challenges, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and provide a means of strengthening our cooperation with other regional partners.
We also discussed potential opportunities for additional naval cooperation at a range of locations, including HMAS Stirling. All of these possible areas of cooperation would require substantial further study and additional decisions by both capitals.
We also welcomed a range of initiatives that will strengthen our practical cooperation in other areas.
We recognised the need to address the rising threat presented by increasing congestion in space from over 50 years of space activities and a significant rise in space debris. In particular, we need to ensure our continued access to space assets for services critical to the functioning of modern economies, as well as for national security purposes.
In response, we have brought forward a new and important element of this cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the relocation and establishment of a jointly-operated US C-Band space surveillance radar at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station in Western Australia. We have also decided to work towards the relocation of a highly advanced US Space Surveillance Telescope to Australia.
The relocation of these capabilities will strengthen the US global Space Surveillance Network's ability to track space assets and debris, and contribute to the global public good by making this information publically available and providing satellite operators around the world with warnings of possible collisions between space objects, thereby reducing the danger posed by space debris.
The relocation and joint operation of these assets is a demonstration of our commitment to closer space cooperation, and builds upon the Space Situational Awareness Partnership established between Australia and the United States at AUSMIN in 2010.
We affirmed our commitment to strengthening our capacity to contribute to integrated civil-military operations, recognising the increasing complexity of the kinds of contingencies that we continue to face together and with other partners. Such investment in bilateral preparedness reinforces our combined capacity to respond effectively with other partners to disasters, humanitarian emergencies and fragile and conflict-affected states across the Asia Pacific and globally.
We affirmed our intent to:
- continue to implement the US force posture initiatives in an incremental and considered manner;
- continue to plan our participation in a regional humanitarian and disaster relief exercise to be hosted by Indonesia in 2013, which will enhance our ability to respond and work together in the region in the event of a humanitarian or natural disaster;
- continue exploring opportunities for cooperation on Indian Ocean security matters;
- continue to progress implementation of the Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty as a means to increase cooperation between Australian and US defence industries and enhance interoperability on joint operations and exercises, recognising that the legislation needed to implement the Treaty has been passed by the Australian Parliament;
- relocate a US C-Band space surveillance radar to Western Australia in 2014, where it will track space assets and debris, contribute to the safety and security of space-based systems on which we rely and increase coverage of space objects in the southern hemisphere;
- complement the C-Band space surveillance radar capability by working towards the relocation of an advanced US space surveillance telescope to Australia, and explore ways to better leverage Australian space surveillance capabilities for combined benefit, as next steps under the Space Situational Awareness Partnership signed in 2010;
- discuss the possible establishment of a Combined Communications Gateway in Western Australia, which would provide both Australia and the United States greater access to the Wideband Global Satellite communications constellation in which we are partners. The discussions follow the signature of a Military Satellite Communications Partnership Statement of Principles in 2008;
- consult as the United States develops the phased adaptive approach to ballistic missile defence, which will allow missile defence to be adapted to the threats unique to the Asia Pacific;
- continue our cooperation to build a more detailed understanding of regional ballistic missile threats and cooperative research on technologies to counter such threats, and options for practical cooperation in this area; and
- strengthen and regularise whole-of-government participation in the Talisman Sabre exercise with a strong Australian and US civilian agency participation in future exercises to complement the high levels of defence cooperation and interoperability demonstrated in the activity.
The United States offered to host the next AUSMIN meeting in 2013.