Defence Minister David Johnston has hailed the forging of closer defence relations between Australia and China following his meeting with General Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Central Military Commission.
During talks with General Fan and other senior Chinese military officials in Canberra yesterday afternoon, Senator Johnston strongly endorsed an agreement to conduct joint military exercises involving China, Australia and the United States.
“Exercise Kowari, in Australia, is a firm demonstration of all three countries’ intent to work together towards enhancing mutual trust and regional stability,” the Defence Minister said.
Exercise Kowari – a land exercise – will be held in October in northern Australia and marks the first trilateral military exercise involving Australian, Chinese and United States personnel.
“The exercise will provide those taking part with an understanding of the basic principles, procedures, techniques and equipment that best support survival in a harsh environment,” Senator Johnston said.
“This exercise marks an important milestone in defence cooperation between Australia, China and the United States.
“General Fan and I also noted the vital importance of regional maritime security and we’ve agreed to discuss further how Australia and China can work closely to promote maritime security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The Australian Defence Minister thanked General Fan for China’s continued efforts in working with countries to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and for its help as part of the international coalition searching for the missing flight MH-370.
Mark Dodd (Minister Johnston’s office) 0477 389 560