MINISTER FOR DEFENCE OF
THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA, SENATOR DAVID JOHNSTON
GENERAL FAN CHANGLONG,
VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL MILITARY COMMISSION OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
At the invitation of the Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston, General Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China, arrived in Australia on 16 July 2014 for a four-day official visit. General Fan met with the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia; the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs; and held talks with Senator Johnston and senior Defence officials in Canberra on 17 July.
General Fan was accompanied by senior officers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), including the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the PLA, Lieutenant General Wang Ning, the Political Commissar of the PLA Navy, Admiral Liu Xiaojiang, the Commander of the Guangzhou Military Region, General Xu Fenlin, and the Deputy Commander of Guangzhou Military Region and Commander of Guangzhou Regional Air Force, Lieutenant General Xu Anxiang. He was also accompanied by China’s Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Mr Ma Zhaoxu.
General Fan’s visit provided an opportunity for detailed discussions regarding the bilateral defence relationship, as well as strategic matters of mutual interest and concern. In a meeting with Senator Johnston, it was agreed that maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and advancing defence relations based on mutual respect between China and Australia were a shared priority. Senator Johnston and General Fan emphasised the importance of cooperation and communication between Australia and China – and with regional partners and institutions – on security matters.
Both sides also highlighted cooperation between China and Australia in the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and in the continuing search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. They noted that the demonstrated capacity for PLA and Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to work closely together had reinforced the value of continued practical defence engagement between our two nations.
Both sides noted that senior military visits and practical exchanges had facilitated the development of a fruitful defence relationship. All three ADF Service Chiefs had visited China in the first half of 2014, and Senator Johnston was pleased to accept an invitation to visit China later this year. The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, and the Secretary of Defence, Mr Dennis Richardson, will also visit Beijing in late 2014 to conduct the 17th annual Defence Strategic Dialogue with General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the General Staff, PLA.
Senator Johnston and General Fan also announced that China, Australia and the United States will conduct a joint military exercise, Exercise Kowari, in Australia in October 2014, which demonstrates all three countries’ intent to work together towards enhancing mutual trust and regional stability. Taking into account the vital importance of maritime security in the region, Senator Johnston and General Fan also agreed to discuss further how Australia and China could do more together to promote maritime security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
Mark Dodd (Minister Johnston’s office) 0477 389 560