Australian and US defence officials have met to discuss the AUKUS partnership and Indo-Pacific outlook at a US-Australia defence bilateral meeting.
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US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Richard Marles for the meeting in the Pentagon on 3 February.
Officials exchanged views on the impending release of the Australian Defense Strategic Review (DSR), the trilateral AUKUS partnership, their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and a variety of other issues facing the United States and Australia.
Under the AUKUS trilateral security, the US and the United Kingdom are expected to assist Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines through technological development or lease.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said both countries have continued commitment to AUKUS, deepen defence cooperation, strengthen coordination on regional priorities, increase resilience against climate change and integrate defence industries.
“We’ve already made significant progress on developing the optimal pathway for Australia to acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability at the earliest possible date,” he said.
“Our discussion today will help us to make further progress in our alliances and trilateral reach with AUKUS.
“We also pledged to find new ways to work closely with Japan, as we pursue a common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, as a region where all countries can chart their own course and all states respect international rules and norms and where all disputes are resolved peacefully.
“All of this is yet another reminder that our unbreakable alliance is capable of great things. It has, indeed, endured for generations, and it remains vital to regional peace and security.”
During the visit, both officials attended an honour cordon, the guard of honour ceremony is usually reserved for the US President, Vice-President, statutory appointees, general or flag officers of the US military or foreign dignitaries occupying comparable positions.