American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis appeared alongside their Australian counterparts, Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and Minister for Defense Marise Payne, at the 2017 Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) Conference in Sydney, Australia on Monday. The government officials from each nation reaffirmed the importance of their alliance with one another, and discussed the threats America and Australia face in the Pacific, as well as the looming threat of terrorism the word over.
The four officials took a moment to provide statements to one another and the press before beginning the day of talks.
The global terrorist threat is ever evolving, we’ve seen brutal attacks in a number of European cities, we’ve thwarted attacks here in Australia,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said, “and so we want to discuss that with you, the links back into the Middle East, the role we’re playing with you in Iraq and Syria, and also in Afghanistan.”
“Ours in a unique partnership, with a century of shared military history and we have one of the closest strategic and economic partnerships that any two countries could aspire to.” She added.
The United States and Australia have a long history of military, political and economic cooperation. Those bonds were further solidified in the attacks of September 11th, 2001, where Australia not only came to the United States’ aid in the ensuing war on terror, but shared in the loss of life that occurred on that tragic day. 11 Australians were among the thousands killed during the attack, and the two nations have since built upon that partnership in battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The shared sacrifice, the shared commitment, that is really what has sustained this relationship, and we have much to discuss in this session today both regionally, but as you’ve pointed out globally as well, as to how we promote those most fundamental values and secure the environment for people to pursue their own pathway towards freedom and democracy.” Rex Tillerson said.
Minister for Australian Defense Marise Payne echoed the importance of that partnership in her statements as well.
We are working very hard to maintain and to grow what is already a strong defense partnership. Our alliance, our Australia-U.S. alliance, is and will continue to be the Australian government’s highest strategic priority and we made that very clear in our government’s white paper in 2016. It’s the cornerstone of a very strong bilateral relationship which is founded on our shared values, our shared interests and our very close friendship.” She said.
American Defense Secretary James Mattis was the last to speak prior to the commencement of the day’s events. He took that opportunity to not only affirm his commitment to the U.S.-Australian alliance, but to, once again, ensure the world knows that terror attacks such as the one that occurred in London on Monday cannot, and will not, dissuade America and its allies.
It takes work, and that’s what we’re here to do, work with you, I would also note that we are united as I said in our resolve, even against an enemy that thinks that by hurting us, they can scare us. Well, we don’t scare. And so we’re here to work together in a manner that protects the freedom and the values that we share together and we’re committed to passing those freedoms onto the next generation intact.”
Image courtesy of the Australian Government