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The Hon Richard Marles MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Defence
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister - 02 6277 7800 - DPM.Media@defence.gov.au
2 October 2022
SUBJECT: Australia-US-Japan trilateral defence cooperation; Indo-Pacific; Russia-Ukraine conflict.
US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Good morning, Deputy Prime Minister Marles and Minister Hamada, It's great to see you both again. Thanks for being here and making the trip, and joining us in Hawaii.
This trilateral meeting is an important opportunity for us all to build on our close partnership, and to advance the ambitious agenda that we laid out in Singapore in June. America is proud to count Australia and Japan among our very closest allies. For decades, our three democracies have worked shoulder to shoulder as an anchor for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe. We are bound together by our deep friendship, our commitment to democracy, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. But today, that vision is threatened by autocratic countries that peddle disinformation and defy international rules, and rely on coercion and intimidation. We are deeply concerned by China's increasingly aggressive and bullying behaviour in the Taiwan Strait, and elsewhere in the region.
The free world has also been galvanized by Russia’s shocking and cruel war of choice, and Russia's brazen attempt to extinguish Ukraine's right to exist as a state. So in these challenging times, I'm proud that we are working so closely together with our allies and partners to deepen our shared security. We stand together today united in common purpose. And as President Biden recently said, we stand together, “against the global politics of fear and coercion to defend the sovereign rights of smaller nations as equal to larger ones, and to embrace basic principles like freedom of navigation, and respect for international law.”
So I look forward to strengthening our trilateral defence cooperation today, including reaching out together in the region, and expanding our trilateral military activities, and deepening our technology cooperation. Working together strengthens our integrated deterrence, and it moves us all toward a safer and more prosperous region.
Again, Deputy Prime Minister Marles and Minister Hamada, thank you for making the trip today and I look forward to a great discussion.
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, RICHARD MARLES: Secretary Austin, Minister Hamada, it is an enormous honour and pleasure to be here in Honolulu, at Indo Pacific Command. Can I also acknowledge Admiral Aquilino, and thank him for allowing us to use his wonderful headquarters for our meeting today.
I stand amongst the closest of friends for Australia. I do so at a time when the global rules-based order is being pressured in a way that we've not seen in many, many decades. We're seeing that in Eastern Europe with the unprovoked aggression of Russia against Ukraine. And we are standing with Ukraine because we see that the principles which are engaged in that conflict go directly to Australia's national interest, because our interest lies in the upholding of the global rules-based order. But we see that order under pressure in the Indo-Pacific as well. As China is seeking to shape the world around it in a way that we've not seen before, we see great challenges for Australia, and for our region in terms of upholding that rules based-order. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, freedom of navigation is fundamentally important to Australia, but it's a fundamentally important to the stability and the prosperity, which has underpinned the wonderful economic growth that we have seen in East Asia over a long period of time.
Australia's alliance with the United States is central to our sense of national security, it is central to our world view, and it is as important today as it has ever been. But from Australia as we look north, the bilateral alliance between the United States and Japan, we see as being a pillar of stability in the region as well. Australia feels safer when Japan and America work closely together, which is why today's trilateral meeting, and why the trilateral architecture - Australia, Japan and the United States - is so profoundly important for us. We are aligned strategically today as closely as we have. But that strategic alignment is built upon relationships of deep affection, between Australia, between the United States, between Australia and Japan, between Japan and the United States. And we see the trilateral between our three countries as only growing deeper and stronger and we look very much forward today to pursuing that agenda.
JAPANESE MINISTER OF DEFENSE, HAMADA YASUKAZU (THROUGH INTERPRETER): Secretary Austin and DPM Marles, I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk with you in person.
The fact that we, the defence chiefs of Japan, the United States and Australia, are meeting here today, following the Trilateral Defence Ministers’ meeting in June, is extremely important in demonstrating our strong bond to the international community and also increasing deterrence capabilities in the region
Today the international community is faced with the severe security environment due to Russia's aggression against Ukraine, China's unilateral change of status quo by force in the South and East China seas, and remarkable development of North Korea’s nuclear and missile (inaudible) technologies, among others. The foundation of international order has been undermined.
In light of such severe security environment, Japan will formulate key strategic documents, including the National Security Strategy. Also, we are determined to fundamentally reinforce our defence capabilities within five years, and to secure the substantial increase of defence budget needed to affect it.
Japan recognises the close cooperation between our three countries in conjunction with efforts of respective countries is becoming even more important than ever, in order to uphold and enforce a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law.
In today's meeting, I look forward to candid discussion on what we can do in our defence cooperation to increase deterrence and response capabilities in the region and for our two countries to be a model of trilateral cooperation.