US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who also serves as his country’s defense minister stressed the importance of the alliance system in the Indo-Pacific region after a meeting in Hawaii recently amidst Chinese belligerent military activities in the Taiwan Strait and elsewhere in the region.
“The region and the world face a growing challenge from autocratic countries attempting to change the status quo through threats, coercion, and provocative military activities and even naked aggression,” Austin said. “We’re deeply concerned by China’s aggressive, escalatory and destabilizing military activities in the Taiwan Strait and elsewhere in the region.”
“These shared convictions run deep, and they are the foundation of our unbreakable alliance,” he added.
They also spoke about Australia, the United Kingdom, and United States’ trilateral security pact that will pave the way for Australia to acquire nuclear submarine technology and for the three nations to cooperate on other advanced technologies.
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Marles said his nation also sees increasingly aggressive Chinese efforts to “seek to shape the world around it in a way that we have not seen before.
“The freedom of navigation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea and around Taiwan is “fundamentally important to Australia’s national interests,” he said.
Alliances and partnerships are critical to deterrence. “That’s why you’ve seen us work hard to strengthen partnerships and alliances in the region,” he said further.
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Echoing the same sentiments the secretary said “they discussed the steps needed to enhance deterrence and strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific. “We talked about enhancing our interoperability and expanding our operations and advancing our ongoing posture, force posture initiatives.”
Marles noted that the US system of alliances is profoundly important. “It is the ‘edge,’ and it matters deeply,” he said. “It matters deeply in terms of providing security.”
They reiterated that both Australia and the United States are dedicated to the premise that all countries should be free to choose their own destinies.
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