As tensions in the region heat up, Minister for Defence Marise Payne will meet with South Korea’s prime minister and defence minister before travelling to the Philippines to discuss Daesh’s security threat.
After the North Korean regime's sixth nuclear test on Monday, Minister Payne will meet with Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon and Minister for National Defense Song Young-moo in Seoul on 7 September, a meeting the government says will focus on enhancing Australia's bilateral relationship with the Republic of Korea, Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner, and advancing Australia's broader security and defence interests in the region.
Minister Payne will also meet with General Vincent Brooks, Commander United Nations Command, US Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command, to discuss security on the Korean peninsula. Minister Payne will then deliver the keynote address at the 6th Seoul Defense Dialogue, a three-day dialogue that defence officials from 38 countries and international organisations will attend.
"The Seoul Defense Dialogue provides a timely opportunity for high-level discussions of global and regional strategic challenges. I am honoured to deliver this year’s keynote address," the minister said.
Minister Payne will then travel to the Philippines to meet with her counterpart, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana. The ministers will discuss the security situation in the southern Philippines and Australian assistance in the Philippines’ fight against Daesh in Marawi. Minister Payne will also meet with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza to discuss the government of the Philippines’ efforts to bring about peace and long-term stability in the southern Philippines.
"Australia’s defence relationship with the Philippines spans decades, and is underpinned by a comprehensive Defence Cooperation Program," the minister said.
"The spread of Daesh is threat to regional stability and we are committed to supporting the Philippines in its fight against terrorism. My meeting with my counterpart, Secretary Lorenzana, will discuss how Australia can provide further support in this fight against Daesh-aligned forces."
The meetings come after an Australian Defence Force Joint Task Group departed Sydney on Monday to take part in a series of key military exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific region, including the Philippines.
Running from September to 26 November, Indo-Pacific Endeavour will focus on enhancing military co-operation with some of Australia’s key regional partners, including Brunei, Cambodia, the Federated States of Micronesia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.