Today in Canberra I held bilateral talks with Chilean Minister for Defence Andrés Allamand, who is in Australia for a bilateral visit. Minister Allamand’s visit coincides with the visit to Australia by Chilean Navy training ship Esmeralda.
Australia enjoys a strong relationship with Chile, based on significant bilateral economic engagement, people to people links and cooperation in a range of international fora. Australian and Chilean Defence forces enjoy positive and growing relations.
Minister Allamand and I discussed strategic issues of mutual concern, including cooperation betweenAustralia and Chile in the Asia Pacific region.
Australia and Chile will both participate in the US-hosted Exercise Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 which will be held near Hawaii from 29 June to 3 August.
Australia and Chile cooperate formally on peacekeeping, including through exchanges between the Australian Defence Force Peacekeeping Centre and the Chilean Joint Peace Operations Centre.
Australian and Chilean defence personnel served together as part of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which was established in October 1999 to support East Timor during the transition period and provided capacity-building for self-government.
I agreed with Minister Allamand that we would examine expanding practical bilateral Defence cooperation and build on our biennial Bilateral Political Consultations, which were established in 2009.
This morning Minister Allamand and I laid a wreath at the Australian War Memorial to mark the sacrifices of our respective service men and women.
Imagery is available at:
Minister Smith’s Office – Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800
Defence Media Operations – (02) 6127 1999