Joint statement AUSMIN 2015

  • Joint Statement
13 October 2015

Minister forForeign Affairs Julie Bishop, Minister for Defence Marise Payne, Secretary ofState John Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter met on October 13 inBoston for the Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations.

The United States-Australia Alliance andbilateral relationship

Seventy five yearsafter the United States and Australia established diplomatic relations, morethan 60 years into our alliance, and a decade into our free trade agreement, ourcommon values and shared history form the foundation of a lasting partnershipthat remains crucial to addressing a range of regional and global challenges.

The United Statesand Australia reaffirmed the strongstate of bilateral defense and security cooperation under the Alliance, bolsteredby more than a decade of operations together in Afghanistan and Iraq and morerecently through our work together as part of the Global Coalition to Counterthe Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The two countriesreiterated their commitment to implement fully the U.S. Force Posture Initiativesin Australia through a stepped growth in rotational presence in line withavailable infrastructure in 2016 and beyond.Both sides shared the view that this cooperation demonstrates the UnitedStates' strong commitment to the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, providesnew opportunities for joint regional security cooperation, and reaffirmsAustralia's strong support for the goals of the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacificregion.

They also decided topursue enhanced naval cooperation across all domains, including additionalcombined training and exercises to strengthen both countries' capacity toconduct maritime domain awareness and amphibious operations.

Senator Payne andSecretary Carter signed a Joint Statement on Defense Cooperation, whicharticulates the principles underpinning defense cooperation and which isintended to serve as a guide for future cooperation.

In keeping with thepositive role that the Alliance has played in regional prosperity and security,the Statement underscores the United States' and Australia's enduringcommitment to further enhance the interoperability of their military forces andtheir intelligence cooperation; strengthen collaboration on policy, planningand capability development; and build cooperation with regional partners.

The Statement alsohighlights the continued high level of cooperation between the United Statesand Australia on shared defense science, technology, and industry objectives,and reaffirms both countries' shared intent to further develop opportunities topursue innovative collaboration in these fields.

Both sides welcomedthe successful conduct of the high-end bilateral exercise TALISMAN SABRE 2015,which included over 30,000 participants and featured increasedcivilian-military cooperation.Theycommitted to further building the exercise for its next iteration in 2017.

The two countries decidedthat Australian and US border agencies should establish a bilateral strategicdialogue on a new Joint Border Protection Initiative to enhance timelyinformation and intelligence sharing relating to border security.

Noting that 2015marks the tenth anniversary of the Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, bothcountries welcomed the dynamism and diversity in the economic relationship,including significant business engagement and substantial two-way investment,which serve to boost productivity, innovation and economic growth.

The United Statesand Australia reiterated their intent to work together to deepen regionaleconomic integration, and welcomed conclusion of the Trans-Pacific PartnershipAgreement (TPP).They agreed to continueworking toward bringing TPP into force in order to reduce business costs, andto promote growth, job creation and higher living standards across the region.

The United Statesand Australia recognized the close links between the people of both countries, includingthe over 1.6 million annual travelers between the two countries who contributebillions of dollars to local economies.

Both sides expectto continue collaboration on innovation, energy, science, technology, space,and health.

They affirmed theircommitment to exploring opportunities for innovative development solutionsthrough USAID's Global Development Lab and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's InnovationXchange.

The two countries notedtheir history of providing assistance to each other during some of the worstfire seasons in the past 50 years, including the contributions of Australianfirefighters during the 2015 wildfire season in the United States.

The Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region

Australia and theUnited States committed to remain deeply engaged in the economically andstrategically significant Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region.They recognized that building prosperity andmaintaining stability in these regions was of vital importance to bothcountries.

Both countriesdiscussed the importance of working through regional fora to support security,stability, economic growth and regional integration. They welcomed efforts tostrengthen the East Asia Summit (EAS) as the region's premier leaders-led forumfor strategic dialogue.

Both countrieswelcomed the continued contributions of the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEANDefence Ministers' Meeting Plus to fostering cooperation and dialogue onsecurity issues. They expect to work closely to advance the agenda ofAsia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

They expressed strong concerns over recent Chineseland reclamation and construction activity in the South China Sea. They calledon all claimant states to halt land reclamation, construction, andmilitarization. They urged claimants to exercise restraint, take steps to easetensions and refrain from provocative actions that could escalate tensions.

They noted therecent statement by China's President that China does not intend to pursuemilitarization of features in the Spratly Islands, and underscored theimportance that China follow through on its commitment and take other similarsteps to defuse tensions associated with its land reclamation program.

They called on governments to clarify and pursueterritorial claims and accompanying maritime rights in accordance withinternational law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They also called for the Association of South-EastAsian Nations (ASEAN) and China to ensure practical implementation ofcommitments under the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the South ChinaSea, and to reach agreement on a substantive Code of Conduct in the South ChinaSea as soon as possible. They emphasized the importance of the rights,freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by all states to fly, sail, andoperate in accordance with international law.

Both countriesreaffirmed the importance of a constructive relationship with China throughdialogue, cooperation, and economic engagement.

They discussed thestrength of their bilateral security relationships with Japan, and commitmentto enhancing trilateral cooperation, including through the Trilateral StrategicDialogue (TSD).

They reaffirmedtheir intent to work with the Republic of Korea to support global and regionalgrowth and stability, and to address security challenges in the region,including on the Korean Peninsula.

Underscoring deepconcerns about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) continuedcontravention of UN Security Council resolutions, both countries called on theDPRK to comply with its international commitments and obligations, including byabandoning its nuclear, missile and proliferation activities. They lookedforward to the continued engagement of the UN Security Council in addressing thesituation in the DPRK, including its deplorable human rights record.

Both sidesrecognized India's strategic and economic importance in the Asia-Pacific region,and welcomed growing engagement and increased cooperation with India on a rangeof security issues, particularly counter-terrorism, maritime security,countering transnational crime and cyber policy.

AcknowledgingIndonesia's important regional role, both countries intend to continue to workwith the administration of President Joko Widodo to address regional securitychallenges, including countering terrorism and countering violent extremism(CVE).

Recognizing theshared economic and strategic interests between Australia, the United Statesand Thailand, both countries reiterated their support for Thailand's return todemocracy, and stressed the importance of protecting human rights andfundamental freedoms.

Both sidesacknowledged their shared hope that November 2015 elections in Burma would representanother step forward in Burma's democratic transition and provide a pathtowards lasting peace and prosperity in Burma. They committed to remainconstructively engaged with Burma as it embraces economic, political and socialreform.

The United Statesand Australia explored avenues for collaboration in the South Pacific,including through initiatives such as Australia's Pacific Maritime SecurityProgram and other efforts to assist Pacific Island countries build a stable,secure, and prosperous region.

Both countrieswelcomed Fiji's return to democracy following elections in 2014.

They highlighted the need to achievethe sustainable management of oceans and fisheries, and plan to continue efforts toaddress illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The two countries expressedtheir intention to work closely together on regional efforts to empower womenand girls, including joint programs that support women entrepreneurs andbusiness leaders.

Both countrieswelcomed the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and its strong focus oneconomic growth, gender equality, women's economic empowerment, peace and goodgovernance.

Global challenges

Australia and theUnited States reiterated their strong commitment to the collective defense ofIraq by degrading and defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

They reaffirmed theneed for a negotiated political solution in Syria. They called on the RussianFederation to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition andcivilians and to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL.

They renewed theircall on the international community to resettle individuals fleeing the crisesand to contribute to the appeals of humanitarian actors responding to thecrisis.

They discussedlocal, regional, and global CVE efforts and to stem the flow of foreignterrorist fighters, acknowledging progress made since the White House CVESummit and the Sydney Regional CVE Summit.

They decided tocontinue collaboration on best practices for addressing the threat at theinternational level, including through the United Nations and the GlobalCounter-Terrorism Forum and its inspired institutions such as Hedayah and theGlobal Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), at the national level,including through legislation, immigration and consular policies, and at thelocal level, including through the newly created Strong Cities Network.

The United Statesand Australia committed to continue working together, with the widerinternational community, to promote security, peace, development, human rightsand rule of law in Afghanistan.

Both countriesexpressed support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreedbetween the P5+1 and Iran and reiterated their commitment to prevent Iran fromobtaining a nuclear weapon.

The United Statesand Australia echoed the international community in condemning Russianaggression in Ukraine, including Russia's occupation of Crimea, and called onRussia and the separatists to fully implement all Minsk commitments as the pathto a peaceful resolution to the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine.

The United Statesexpressed support for the work of the Joint Investigation Team – which includesAustralia – in seeking to ensure that those responsible for the downing ofMalaysia Airlines flight MH17 are held to account. Both countries welcomed therecent findings of the Dutch Safety Board investigation. The report, which wasbased on an extensive independent civil investigation, concluded that MH17 wasshot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile.

Recognizing theshared challenge posed by malicious cyber actors, both countries decided tostrengthen further information sharing and interoperability in cyberspace. Bothcountries underscored their position that international law applies to stateconduct in cyberspace, endorsed the consensus report of the 2015 UN Group ofGovernment Experts on this subject, and further expressed the view that nocountry should conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectualproperty, including trade secrets or other confidential business information,with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercialsectors.

The United Statesand Australia reaffirmed commitments to continue international cooperation onaddressing irregular migration and refugee challenges and to supportunderfunded humanitarian appeals.

Recognizing the challengeclimate change poses to the security and livelihoods of all, the United Statesand Australia reiterated their resolve to worktoward an ambitious climate agreement at the Conference of Parties to theUnited Nations Framework on Climate Change in Paris later in 2015.

Australia offered to host thenext AUSMIN meeting in 2016.

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