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‘Stepping up to the plate’ – US ambassador hails Australia’s Pacific strategy

US chargé d’affaires James Carouso, acting ambassador to Australia, has praised Defence’s approach to the Pacific during the opening of the USA Partnership Pavilion at the Avalon Airshow.

Eighty-plus exhibitors hail from the US at this year’s Airshow, marking the largest US contingent ever at Avalon.

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It’s no coincidence, of course, with strategic partnerships between the two nations ever-growing, and Carouso made note of these co-operative efforts during his address at the opening of the Partnership Pavilion.

The chargé d’affaires also said that Australia is “stepping up to the plate” in ensuring the Pacific remains “free and open”, as rising foreign powers eye off the important strategic region.

Carouso played a key role in the US and Australia’s efforts to offer Papua New Guinea an alternative route to building their internet infrastructure, which ultimately proved unsuccessful as the island chose to honour its deal with Chinese company Huawei.

Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne also highlighted the important steps the government is taking towards the Indo-Pacific region during his speech at the Australian International Airshow Official Dinner.

Part of our Defence Strategy is to step up both the posture and the tempo of our engagement in the region using Australian capability and influence to shape it.  We want to be a good neighbour and we want to safeguard the peace and prosperity of that neighbourhood. Last year when I became Minister for Defence, I outlined where we must focus our efforts to better promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” Minister Pyne said.

”The lessons of history teach us the prosperity we’ve all enjoyed in the Indo-Pacific is underpinned by a secure environment. That’s why Australia vehemently advocates a common strategic culture where agreed rules and norms always govern the behaviour of states. It’s also one of the reasons why we regard the United States as our most important security partner.”

Last month, Minister Pyne outlined Australia’s ambitions and commitment to the Indo-Pacific during his keynote address at the Fullerton Forum in Singapore.

Minister Pyne identified five key areas of focus, each with a direct impact on the nation’s commitment to securing and enhancing continued regional economic growth and security, including: 

  • The government’s “Pacific Step Up” program;
  • Exercise Indo-Pacific Endeavour and the growing holistic importance of the Indo-Pacific;
  • The continuity of the global “rules based order”;
  • A credible ADF capable of deterring coercion; and
  • The need for greater regional capability.

Australia’s growing fleet, including the Hunter Class frigates and Attack Class submarines, was pushed along with the Indo-Pacific region in mind.

“We are investing over 90 billion Australian dollars in a fleet of 55 leading‑edge ships, 12 Attack Class submarines, nine Hunter Class anti‑submarine warfare frigates, 12 Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels, one hydrographic ship, and 21 Guardian Class patrol boats for Pacific island countries and Timor Leste,” Minister Pyne said during his address in January.

‘Stepping up to the plate’ – US ambassador hails Australia’s Pacific strategy
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