Minister for Defence - Exercise KOWARI breaking new ground

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Senator the Hon David Johnston

Minister for Defence

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24 October 2014

Exercise KOWARI, the first land-based trilateral military exercise between Australia, China and the United States, concluded today marking an important milestone in defence cooperation between the three countries.

Based out of Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin, the exercise began on 7 October and involved 10 participants from each country.

The exercise included field training and survival tests in remote inland and coastal areas designed to provide participants with an understanding of the basic principles, procedures, techniques and equipment that can enhance survival prospects in a harsh Australian environment.

Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston said Exercise KOWARI provided a template for regional defence cooperation into the future.

“Exercise KOWARI is an example of how Australia can encourage deeper habits of defence cooperation and trust across the region,” Senator Johnston said.

“I am sure that regional countries will be looking at what has just happened here in Australia, with Exercise KOWARI, and will be thinking hard about how they might conduct a similar activity in their own countries.

“Australia is well placed to take forward defence and security cooperation with China, and Exercise KOWARI demonstrates that there is a healthy appetite from both China and the United States to work together in practical ways to support regional stability and security.

“The exercise is an example of how Australia’s alliance with the United States enhances the ability of both of our countries to cooperate meaningfully with countries in the Asia-Pacific.”

Speaking following his successful visit to China from 12-14 October, Senator Johnston noted the positive trend in the Australia-China defence relationship and stressed the importance of deepening defence cooperation with China.

“China remains a critical defence and security partner for Australia in the region, and globally,” he said.

“We must do more to broaden the scope and scale of our practical defence cooperation. Exercises such as this enhance the ability of Australia and China to cooperate in the interests of regional security, as we did during the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

“Australia has extensive military training areas and a wide range of environments in which to exercise, and we welcome increased training and exercising with China in Australia. We’d also welcome increased training and exercising, whether bilaterally or multilaterally, with all of our defence and security partners.”

Media note:
Imagery from Exercise KOWARI is available at 

Video of the exercise is available at

Media contact:
Rebecca Horton (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0477 389 554
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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