Ministers acknowledge enduring Pacific Defence cooperation

Minister of Defence Ron Mark and his Australian counterpart, Hon Christopher Pyne have released a Joint Statement on Defence Cooperation in the Pacific Region, following their meeting in Adelaide.

“Australia is our closest Defence partner” says Ron Mark. “Our personnel have been working alongside each other for over a century.  Examples of our most recent cooperation includes the Building Partner Capacity Mission in Iraq, and defence engagement with our Pacific partners throughout the region.”

“Our discussions highlighted our complimentary defence engagement with our Pacific partners. Both nations noted a lift of focus on the region, leveraging off both Closer Defence Relations and our respective Pacific Reset and Pacific Step Up initiatives.”

“We have released a Joint Statement that reaffirms our mutual commitment to Defence cooperation in the South Pacific. This Statement builds on the principles outlined in last year’s refreshed Statement on Closer Defence Relations and signals our intent to work together in a manner consistent with the priorities outlined in the Boe Declaration.

“It also reinforces the position New Zealand took in the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018, which raised the priority placed on the Defence Force’s ability to operate in the South Pacific to the same level as New Zealand’s territory, the Southern Ocean and Antarctica,” says Ron Mark.

The three focus areas agreed under the Joint Statement are for Australia and New Zealand to:

  •  have the collective ability to improve security outcomes in the Pacific;
  •  maintain strong, interoperable forces and capabilities to respond to requests for security assistance from the Pacific countries; and
  •  enhance Pacific resilience and self-reliance through the two countries’ respective capacity building programmes.

 While in Australia Minister Mark will also meet with Opposition Shadow Minister for Defence Hon Richard Marles