Stephen Smith MP
Minister for Defence
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith today announced that Australia would join the United States and Japan in the maritime exercise Eastern Endeavour 2010.
Eastern Endeavour is a part of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and will be hosted by the Republic of Korea in the south-eastern port city of Busan on 13 and 14 October.
Through a live exercise, Eastern Endeavour will improve maritime interdiction capabilities, and will incorporate on-board inspections based on a scenario and intelligence provided by the exercise coordinators. Involving national teams addressing the legal, diplomatic, customs, law enforcement, intelligence and financial aspects of actions at sea, the exercise aims to stop the trafficking of WMD and related materials by terrorists and countries which are of proliferation concern.
Australia’s participation complements successful efforts to strengthen the international legal regime established by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Australia’s recent initiative with Japan to bring together a number of countries at Ministerial level to advance non-proliferation and disarmament.
The Ministers commended the Republic of Korea’s initiative and welcomed Australia’s participation.
“Our engagement in this exercise reflects Australia’s ongoing commitment to halting the further spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD),” said Mr Rudd.
Eastern Endeavour will be the first such exercise the Republic of Korea had hosted since it joined the Proliferation Security Initiative in May 2009. Australia will contribute an RAAF P-3 aircraft and a strong national inter-agency team of officials who will participate in a Proliferation Security Initiative tabletop exercise to be run in conjunction with the live exercise.
“Australia is a founding member and active supporter of the Proliferation Security Initiative and looks forward to strengthening the strategic PSI relationship with the Republic of Korea,” Mr Smith said.
"In Hanoi on 12 October I met my Republic of Korea counterpart, Defence Minister Kim, who welcomed our cooperation in PSI and participation in exercise Eastern Endeavour 2010."
Australia’s cooperation with the Republic of South Korea on the PSI further reflects the growing security engagement taking place in the relationship - underpinned by the Joint Statement on Enhanced Global and Security Cooperation signed between Australia and the Republic of Korea on the 5 March 2009.
Australia will also participate in a regional Proliferation Security Initiative workshop hosted by the Republic of Korea for Asia Pacific member countries of the PSI in Busan from 28 to 29 October.
There are currently 98 member countries in the Proliferation Security Initiative.
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