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Here is a plethora of great photos from yesterday.  In some of these, Mme. Secretary at a wreath-laying ceremony with her counterpart,  Bob Carr and with Secretary Panetta and his counterpart, Stephen Smith. In others, they are participating in a press briefing.  Some are from the reception she attended with Colin Barnett.

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Remarks With Australian Foreign Minister Robert Carr, Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
State Reception Center
Perth, Australia
November 14, 2012

FOREIGN MINISTER CARR: Ladies and gentlemen, it was Dr. Johnson who said, “Keep your friendships in good repair.” And in that spirit, AUSMIN concluded in its meeting today, very much in the spirit of business as usual, steady as she goes, no new strategic content or announcements but a matter of consolidation. If I draw your attention to page seven of the communique, you’ll see reference to implementation of decisions that were announced last year, the U.S. force posture initiatives in Australia that were welcomed by President – Prime Minister Gillard when President Obama announced them in 2011. We welcomed the success of the first rotation of U.S. Marine Corps personnel to Northern Australia and look forward to the next rotation in 2013.

The deepening of our defense cooperation through these initiatives is, as we see it, a natural evolution of our existing longstanding cooperation, maintaining and supporting long-term peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. We discussed potential opportunities for additional naval cooperation in a range of locations, including HMAS Stirling. All these possible areas of cooperation would require substantial further study and additional decisions by both cabinets.

We spoke about the South China Sea, and you’ll see references to that in the communique. We’re united in seeking a peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes. We share a common interest with other members of the international community in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce. We don’t take sides on the competing territorial claims.

We made comment to China’s rise. We want to continue to build positive, cooperative, comprehensive relations with China, and that means through strong economic engagement and encouraging progress on human rights. There was no language of containment in this, but we both welcome China’s role as a responsible member of the international community.

I thank, again, our U.S. colleagues for their engagement in East Asia, their involvement in the East Asia Summit, for their involvement in Southeast Asia through the ASEAN Regional Forum. We thank them for the number of visits they’ve given the region, their focus – the focus they’ve (inaudible) on the region in which Australia exists and prospers. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me begin by thanking Foreign Minister Carr and Defense Minister Smith for hosting these productive sessions today and last night here in Perth. We couldn’t ask for better partners. Our alliance is an anchor of peace and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and around the world, forged in war but flourishing in peace. And it has bipartisan support in both our countries under Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Laborites.

We hold these four-way meetings every year because our diplomatic, economic, and security relationships are inseparable. That approach drives America’s engagement across the Asia Pacific and Australia’s strategy as well, as laid out in the government’s new white paper. But if you look at what we’re doing – and Minister Carr gave a brief overview – it’s quite extensive.

From the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Islands, American and Australian navies protect the sea lanes through which much of the world’s trade passes, and increasingly our cyber security experts collaborate to keep our networks safe and online commerce flowing freely. Our diplomats work side by side at regional organizations to address shared security challenges and hammer out new economic agreements, and we congratulate Australia upon becoming a new nonpermanent member of the Security Council. Our growing trade across the region, including our work together to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, binds our countries together, increases stability, and promotes security.

Today, Secretary Panetta and I congratulated our counterparts on a major new achievement that exemplifies this integrated approach, Parliament approving the new U.S.-Australian Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty, and we will move forward together to implement it. This agreement will boost trade, help our companies collaborate more closely, and spur innovation. It’s a definite win-win.

We touched on many issues of regional and global importance. On Iran, we agreed on maintaining unity in the international community to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. I commended Australia’s efforts to implement tough sanctions on Iran.

And secondly Syria, we agreed today that the formation of the new Syrian Opposition Coalition is an important step forward and will help us better target our assistance. Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States is providing an additional $30 million in humanitarian assistance to help get much-needed food to hungry people inside Syria and to refugees who have fled to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, which brings our total humanitarian assistance to $200 million.

Third, in Afghanistan, we honor the service and sacrifice of our Australian allies. We are on track to transition full responsibility for security to the Afghan Government in 2014, and we are also focused on the economic and political transitions.

Fourth, we are preparing for the upcoming East Asia Summit, working together on a shared regional agenda, including supporting the process that ASEAN and China have begun on developing a comprehensive code of conduct for the South China Sea, supporting continued reforms in Burma, and pushing for the peaceful, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

So as you can see, there is a lot to do, but we could not be doing it with partners in whom we have more trust and confidence. The length of our agenda reflects the strength of our alliance, our partnership, and friendship. So again let me thank the Foreign Minister and the Defense Minister for their hospitality and partnership.

DEFENSE MINISTER SMITH: I’ll be very pleased to join with Foreign Minister Carr to welcome Secretary of State Clinton and Defense Secretary Panetta to Australia, and obviously particularly pleased to welcome both secretaries to Perth. In addition to the very productive conversations last night and today, both Secretaries have had the opportunity to see the lights of Perth, the University of Western Australia, Matilda Bay, Kings Park, and subsequently later stopping in Cottesloe. And Leon and I also had the opportunity yesterday of visiting the SAS Regiment in Swanbourne to pay our respects and regards to the very fine work done by the SAS, not just in Afghanistan but over a long period of time.

As Foreign Minister Carr has said, this is very much a consolidation AUSMIN, a business-as-usual AUSMIN. In terms of the global force posture review initiatives that we have been dealing with the United States since the Melbourne AUSMIN in 2010, we’ve been very pleased with the progress and assessment of the 250 Marine rotations through the Northern Territory. That went very well this year, including the potential for regional humanitarian assistance and a vast array of exercises, particularly warmly welcomed by Indonesian President SBY Yudhoyono. We’ll have the same number in rotation next year. We’ve commissioned an economic and social assessment study to see the potential to raise to 1,100 over the year 2014 with the ultimate ambition of 2,500 over the next five to six years.

We’ve started a conversation on enhanced aviation and aerial access to our Northern Territory airfields. That conversation has begun. And we also started a conversation on the potential for enhanced naval access to HMAS Stirling, our Indian Ocean port, but also to other naval ports. We’ve commissioned a study, a joint study. As I’ve made the point publicly in recent days, we see that very much as (inaudible) and a number of years away. The importance of HMAS Stirling as an Indian Ocean port will rise and increase as India rises in strategic influence in the Indian Ocean and the Indian Ocean Rim also rises.

There are a couple of announcements so far as our cooperation on space is concerned. We first began a conversation about space as early, from memory, as the 2008 AUSMIN. The 2010 AUSMIN in Melbourne, Secretary Gates and I signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on space surveillance. We drew attention then to the particular problem of space debris. Satellite communications are very important, not just from a national security point of view but also fundamentally from a commercial and social point of view. There is now so much debris in space that being acutely aware of space debris is very important to all nation-states, and we’re announcing today that the United States will transfer a C-Band radar from the – from Antigua, from memory, to Australia. We’ll set that up in the northwest of Western Australia at our Exmouth facility, and that will add considerably to the surveillance of space debris in our part of the world.

We’re also in discussions about the possibility of transferring from New Mexico to Australia a space surveillance telescope for use for the same purpose. And we’re in discussion about the best location of that, but again, the expectation is that that would be in Western Australia, to the midwest or the northwest.

That, I think, reflects the fact that we’re making in the modern Perth a modern Western Australia, which has benefited from very substantial United States investments so far as minerals and other resources are concerned.

Australia’s analysis continues to be that the alliance has served us very well for over 60 years and that the presence of the United States in the Asia Pacific has been a force for stability, prosperity, and investment, and we see that continuing. And the focus as we’ve seen on the Indian Ocean, the Indian Ocean Rim, also adds to the importance of viewing our part of the world not just as the Asia Pacific but also the Indo Pacific.

We’re also dealing now under the alliance with modern issues: cyber, very important; space, I’ve referred to that. These are the modern challenges and the modern issues which we now deal with on a regular basis in AUSMIN on an annual basis.

Secretary Panetta and I have also had conversations about Afghanistan and the post 2014 transition presence in Afghanistan, and I, again, very much welcome and appreciate his very strong and kind remarks about the contributions Australian Defense Force personnel have made in Afghanistan in the fine tradition of the Australian Defense Force working closely with the United States counterpart since World War II.

SECRETARY PANETTA: I’d like to – would like to join Secretary Clinton in thanking our two excellent hosts, Minister Carr and Minister Smith, for their hospitality here in Perth. Minister Smith is not only the Defense Minister for Australia, he’s also the head of the Chamber of Commerce for Perth. (Laughter.) (Inaudible.)

The range of discussions that we’ve engaged in have discussed global, regional, and alliance issues, and it once again confirms for me that the United States has no closer ally than Australia. That reality has been demonstrated again and again and again on distant battlefields of Afghanistan, where Australian troops have fought and bled alongside American troops for more than a decade. On behalf of a very grateful nation, I want to express again my deepest appreciation to the Australian Government and to the Australian people for the sacrifices that they’ve made in our joint efforts in Afghanistan. When one of your own is killed on the battlefield, I make it a point to pick up the phone and call the Defense Minister to indicate my deepest sympathies for that loss, because your loss is our loss as well.

The important steps we’ve agreed to here in Perth to increase cooperation between our two nations will do much to ensure that this very strong alliance remains an instrument of peace and prosperity for Americans, for Australians, and for all people who reside in this important region of the world.

To that end, the Memorandum of Understanding that we signed to relocate the C-Band radar to Australia and the discussions that we’ve had on relocating an Advanced Space Surveillance Telescope and a Combined Communications Gateway that will bring together terminals that will provide information, additional information on space issues – all of that represents a major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation and an important new frontier in the United States rebalance to the Asia Pacific region.

We also took stock of the successful deployment of the first U.S. Marine Corps detachment to Darwin as well as increased U.S. Air Force rotations throughout Northern Australia. We agreed to continue to build on that success, and we will. We also agreed to move forward with all due deliberate speed in the further implementation of this important initiative that fosters great cooperation between our forces.

As all of you know, part of our new defense strategy, we’ve made clear that one of our key focuses is to rebalance to the Pacific. We simply would not be able to do that effectively without allies like Australia.

So let me, once again, thank our Australian hosts for a very successful series of meetings and for their generous hospitality. I am confident that the alliance that we share between the United States and Australia will usher in a more secure and a more prosperous future.

Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER CARR: Thank you, Secretary of Defense Panetta. The first question is from Ian (inaudible) of Perth News Limited.

QUESTION: My question is to Secretary Panetta. Now sir, would you like to see an ongoing role for Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014? And, if so, what might that role be? And part three of my question, were defense budget cuts discussed during your meeting today, and are you concerned that (inaudible) might slow down (inaudible)?

SECRETARY PANETTA: First of all, Minister Smith did indicate an interest in the potential for a Special Forces presence in the – what we call the enduring presence – in the post-2014 period in Afghanistan. And I believe that that is worth considering. One of the missions that we are going to have to deal with in the post-2014 Afghanistan is the counterterrorism mission, the ability to continue to target al-Qaida, to target those that would continue to try to conduct terrorism against that country. And, therefore, I think as we design that post-2014 presence, I think we ought to consider the role not only of Australia, but other countries, in providing the kind of Special Forces capability that I think would be very important for the future security of Afghanistan.

With regards to budget issues, obviously both of our countries are facing budget constrictions. And there’s no question that we have to take those into consideration as we design what the future is with regards to our defense forces. We’re certainly doing that in the United States, and I know that Minister Smith is doing that with regards to Australia. We understand the constrictions we’re dealing with. But I remain fully confident that, in light of what we’re confronting, that we have the capability to maintain a strong national defense for both of our countries and that we will be able to meet the threats that confront us, not only in this part of the world, but elsewhere, as well.

FOREIGN MINISTER CARR: Question from Bob Burns, Associated Press.

QUESTION: Secretary Panetta, I have a question for you about the General Allen matter, and, if I could direct the last bit of it toward Secretary Clinton, if I might.

Mr. Secretary, in the last day or so, there’ve been suggestions that you may have overreacted to this matter, based on what, so far, has been quite vague descriptions. For example, overreacted by holding his nomination and also by launching the IG investigation. For example, the Defense Department has said that his emails might have been “inappropriate.” Can you explain what “inappropriate” means in this case?

And, for Secretary Clinton, you mentioned in your opening remarks that the situation in Afghanistan is on track. Could you offer any thoughts on whether this matter, the Allen matter, could damage U.S. credibility in Afghanistan? Thank you.

SECRETARY PANETTA: As you know, after receiving information from the FBI on Sunday regarding the emails, I felt it was important, and my responsibility as Secretary of Defense, to refer the matter on General Allen to the Department’s Inspector General so that the Inspector General could determine the facts here. No one should leap to any conclusions. No one should leap to any conclusions here.

General Allen is doing an excellent job at ISAF in leading those forces. He certainly has my continued confidence to lead our forces and to continue the fight. But his nomination has been put on hold, as a prudent measure, until we determine what the facts are. And we will.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And General Allen is a distinguished Marine and commander who’s been an important part of the NATO ISAF mission in Afghanistan. I don’t have anything to add to what Secretary Panetta has said about how this matter is being addressed. We have been in touch with our NATO ISAF allies. The course in Afghanistan is set. We know what the transition requires of us. We are proceeding with that transition, and will do so on time.

QUESTION: (Off mike.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s been a lot of conversation, as you might expect, Bob, but no concern whatsoever being expressed to us, because the mission has been set forth. It is being carried out.

FOREIGN MINISTER CARR: Ashleigh Gillon, Sky News.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, on China, you’ve written this communique that you’d like to see China exhibit greater military transparency, and you encourage that. How will that happen? And considering Chinese state media reacted negatively to the Northern Territory troop announcement, do you expect China will get uncomfortable with the United States having an increased presence in the Indian Ocean? And on that front, what exactly is America’s wish list when it comes to (inaudible) and increased access to those northern airbases? Do you have a timeframe on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me state the obvious, that the United States and Australia have been close allies and friends for decades, and we have not only security ties, but commercial ties, personal ties, cultural ties. And our relationship between the two of us is among the strongest of any two countries in the world.

By the same token, we both recognize that increased cooperation from China is mutually beneficial. So this is not a zero-sum competition. Rather, it is up to the United States and Australia to lead the way in demonstrating that the strong relationship between us can also help foster strong, healthy relations with China, because the entire region will benefit from a peaceful rise of China. And, as I’ve said many times, we welcome a strong and prosperous China that plays a constructive and greater role in world affairs.

But we also want to see China act in fair and transparent ways that respect international norms and standards, follows international law, protects the fundamental freedoms and human rights of its people and all people. And the Pacific is big enough for all of us. And we stand to benefit from increased cooperation across the Asia Pacific region, as long as there is a level playing field and everybody knows what the rules are and everybody is held to the same standards.

With respect to specific questions, I think that the ministers, particularly Minister Smith and Minister Panetta, have addressed those questions. But we are very comfortable that our relationship is a positive one that should contribute to greater peace and prosperity in the region. And we want all nations to be part of that.

FOREIGN MINISTER CARR: I would just add that there is no news in this communique that will surprise China or any other nation in the region.

Next question, David Brunnstrom, Reuters.

QUESTION: Can you hear me, ma’am?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, please. On Syria, I was just wondering if there is any point at which the United States could follow France in fully recognizing the Syrian coalition. I would also (inaudible) perhaps in the future, to provide lethal aid. Are there any conditions on that?

And on the Burma, I wonder if I could ask whether concerns have eased to the extent that the United States can consider lifting more sanctions, or they’re still worried, for example, about thier links with North Korea and also on the Rohingyan issue. There are reports that there have been organized killings of Rohingyas. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: First, with respect to Syria, we congratulate and welcome the new Syrian Opposition Coalition on the progress that they have made in Doha to broaden and unify the opposition leadership to make it a more effective, representative body that will truly reflect the aspirations of the Syrian people and have credibility with those inside Syria who are doing the fighting and demonstrating, the dying, and dealing with the continuing assault from the Assad regime. We have long called for this kind of organization. The United States was deeply involved in the work that went on leading up to and at Doha.

Now we want to see that momentum maintained. Specifically, we urge them to finalize the organizational arrangements to support the commitments that they made in Doha, and to begin influencing events on the ground in Syria. As the Syrian opposition takes these steps and demonstrates its effectiveness in advancing the cause of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Syria, we will be prepared to work with them to deliver assistance to the Syrian people. So good beginning, highly welcomed by us and others, and we want to see the steps taken that have been promised. And we stand ready to assist this new opposition in standing itself up and representing the Syrian people to the regime and the international community.

Regarding Burma, I very much look forward to returning with President Obama. When I first visited Nay Pyi Taw and Rangoon last December, we pledged that the United States would respond to positive reform steps that were taken by the government with steps of our own. And the President’s visit next week speaks to how far we have come in this action-for-action approach that we outlined. We have matched the reforms taken by having full diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors, allowing new U.S. investment in Burma, as well as the export of U.S. financial services, and supporting assistance from the international financial institutions.

And let me say that Australia has been an indispensable and strong partner in this process. The reforms have a long way to go. The future is not certain. But we are making progress, and we want to see that progress continue. The President will have the opportunity to discuss the path forward in detail. And, of course, one of the items on the agenda will be the ongoing conflict in Rakhine State. We’ve condemned that violence. We’ve called for calm and a meaningful dialogue to address the legitimate needs that are at the base of these underlying issues. And certainly we expect the Burmese authorities to ensure the security and safety of all the people in the area, and to act expeditiously, both to stop violence and investigate it, and bring those responsible to justice.

So we have a lot to talk about when we visit with the President. We’re looking forward to it.

FOREIGN MINISTER CARR: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

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For some reason I do not know, the pictures from San Francisco yesterday did not come in until this morning… as if SF were on the other side of the earth!   Mme. Secretary was wearing one of my favorite jackets – the one with metalic stripes – in these pictures with Kevin Rudd, Stephen Smith, Leon Panetta, and, yes,  that is George Schultz receiving the Honorary Order of Australia from Rudd.

The AUSMIN Conference pictures from today show her wearing the black jacket we saw at Ground Zero on Sunday.  Enjoy.

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There will probably be a video of some statements later.  Meanwhile we have this fact sheet on the results of the conference.

 

Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2011 Joint Communiqué

Media Note

None None
San Francisco, CA
September 15, 2011

The U.S.-Australia alliance is an anchor of stability, security and prosperity in the world. Forged by our shared sacrifice during the Second World War and affirmed in the midst of the Cold War, our alliance has succeeded in adapting and innovating to face the new challenges of the 21st Century. Our shared values, our commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and the natural friendship between our peoples form the foundation of a proud and deep relationship between our two great nations. Our service men and women have fought side-by-side in every major conflict since the First World War and continue that storied tradition today in Afghanistan. And while the bonds of the U.S.-Australia alliance were forged in the defining battles of the past century, that is but one dimension of a multi-faceted relationship. Today, our diplomats work together to address emerging transnational challenges, to advance and support human rights, democracy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms around the world, and to shape the evolving architecture of the Asia-Pacific that will provide a context for the region’s continued dramatic growth and rise. Our aid workers help empower those on the margins of society from the Mekong to the Horn of Africa.

We come to San Francisco to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Australia alliance. It is fitting that we return to the Presidio, where our countries signed the ANZUS Treaty six decades ago. We meet to reflect on the rich history of our relationship, to honor the leaders whose foresight and vision forged this alliance, and to chart a course for the future of our enduring partnership that underscores and situates the U.S.-Australia alliance as an anchor of the Asia-Pacific. We reaffirm our shared security obligations, underscore our common approach to regional developments and global security, and stress our resolve to increase future cooperation to address common strategic objectives.

I. Shared Security Obligations

We reaffirm that the ANZUS Treaty serves as the political and legal foundation of the U.S.-Australia security alliance and that the alliance remains indispensible to the security of Australia and the United States and to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Today, we affirm that our commitment to peace, security and prosperity also acknowledges the importance of promoting a secure, resilient and trusted cyberspace that ensures safe and reliable access for all nations.

II. Regional trends in the Asia-Pacific Region

We underscore the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S.-Australia alliance is key to peace and security in the region, further fostering Asia’s tremendous economic growth. We recognize the need to work together to shape the evolving strategic landscape that connects the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. We value the dialogue on East Asia undertaken by our two governments, and express a joint commitment to continue this and other strategic dialogues. In this context, we have decided on the following shared objectives to guide our countries’ ongoing cooperative and individual work in the Asia-Pacific:

Japan

  • Support the U.S.-Japan alliance, which is critical to peace and security in East Asia, and the developing Australia-Japan defense and security relationship, and take steps to further increase interoperability and training opportunities among the three countries.
  • Enhance trilateral policy coordination among Australia, Japan, and the United States on a range of regional and global security issues through the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue and the trilateral Security and Defense Cooperation Forum.
  • Strengthen coordination with Japan on regional and global development and assistance efforts.

Republic of Korea:

  • Continue to work closely with the Republic of Korea (ROK) on defense and security issues, including international peacekeeping operations, anti-piracy, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • Work closely with the ROK to ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula and deter further provocations by North Korea.

North Korea:

  • Continue to urge North Korea to improve inter-Korean relations and regional stability by demonstrating through concrete actions that it is committed to enter into serious negotiations through the Six-Party process.
  • Deter provocations by North Korea through enhanced training and integration with the Republic of Korea and Japan.
  • Work to implement the goals of a complete, and verifiable denuclearization of North Korea, including its uranium enrichment program, through irreversible steps, and through the Six Party process; resolution of issues related to proliferation, ballistic missiles, illicit activities, and humanitarian concerns, including the matter of abductions by North Korea; and full implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.

China:

  • Welcome the emergence of a stable, peaceful and prosperous China that plays a constructive role in Asian and global affairs.
  • Seek to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with China aimed at expanding cooperation on regional and global challenges, while constructively managing differences.
  • Pursue fair, balanced and mutually beneficial economic relations with China, recognizing that such engagement also contributes to the maintenance of stable and constructive relations more broadly.
  • Encourage stable, healthy, reliable and continuous military-to-military relations with China, featuring open, transparent and substantive discussions of capabilities and intentions.
  • Enhance trust and confidence through greater dialogue on strategic security issues.

India

  • Welcome India’s engagement with East Asia as part of its ‘Look East’ policy.
  • Deepen strategic ties with India.
  • Identify areas of potential cooperation between the United States, Australia and India, including maritime security, disaster risk management and regional architecture.

Indonesia

  • Build on our enhanced coordination and our respective strategic consultations with Indonesia on a range of political, economic, and security issues, as well as on climate change and education.
  • Work through our respective partnerships with Indonesia to strengthen defense and security cooperation and in particular, enhance coordination on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, international peacekeeping, anti-piracy efforts, maritime security, and counterterrorist activities.
  • Support Indonesia’s important role as 2011 ASEAN Chair and assist in preparations for a productive East Asia Summit (EAS) in November.

Burma:

  • Promote human rights and genuine steps toward democracy in Burma in the interest of lasting peace and stability in the country.
  • Welcome reform promises by President Thein Sein and urge the Government of Burma to translate these promises into action.
  • Urge the Government of Burma to make concrete progress on core concerns including the release of all political prisoners, cessation of violence against ethnic minorities, and the establishment of a process of dialogue with ethnic groups and opposition leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to begin a genuine process of national reconciliation.
  • To this end, acknowledge the August 19 meeting between President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi as a first step in the right direction.
  • Underscore the importance of Burma’s fully complying with all its international obligations, including UN Security Council Resolutions on nonproliferation and highlight the need for greater transparency in Burma’s engagement with North Korea.

Pacific Islands

  • Affirm our enduring commitment to work together to play a constructive role in the Pacific.
  • Continue and expand joint efforts to strengthen democracy, support economic reform, enhance good governance, encourage environmental sustainability and address the impacts of climate change, in partnership with the governments and people of Pacific Island countries.
  • Support the protection of the region’s fisheries, enhance maritime monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement capacity, and build on existing initiatives to strengthen management of fisheries resources and to deliver equitable and sustainable outcomes for Pacific Island countries.
  • Coordinate closely on encouraging Fiji’s early return to democracy, including through restoration of the rule of law, strengthening of civil society, and rebuilding democratic institutions.
  • Work with the Pacific Islands Forum, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, and other regional bodies to strengthen regional cooperation and deliver results for the people of the Pacific.

South China Sea:

  • Reiterate that the United States and Australia, along with the international community, have a national interest in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea.
  • Reaffirm that we do not take a position on the competing territorial claims in the South China Sea and call on governments to clarify and pursue their territorial claims and accompanying maritime rights in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea Convention.
  • Reaffirm that the United States and Australia support the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and encourage each of the parties to comply with their commitments, including exercising self-restraint and resolving their disputes through peaceful means, and to make progress towards a binding code of conduct.
  • Reiterate that we oppose the use of coercion or force to advance the claims of any party or interfere with legitimate economic activity.

Regional Architecture

  • Strengthen regional architecture to maintain and enhance peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Work toward a successful 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum under U.S. leadership, which will accelerate APEC’s strong momentum, advancing free trade and economic integration across the region.
  • Reiterate the importance of the EAS, whose mandate, membership and agenda establish a framework for cooperation on a range of issues.
  • Welcome Australia’s leadership role in building a more robust community in the Asia-Pacific region through the EAS.
  • Use this year’s leaders’ meeting in Indonesia to set the direction for the expanded EAS and engage in substantive discussions in Bali on November 19 on regional political, economic, strategic, and other issues.
  • Build close links between the EAS and other ASEAN-centered ministerial-level forums such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
  • Welcome the establishment of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) as an important element of regional architecture and contributor to regional security and stability.
  • Work towards a successful conclusion of the current Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in order to expand trade, investment and growth among the nine TPP parties, including the United States and Australia, and drive further regional economic integration.

III. JOINTLY CONFRONTING GLOBAL SECURITY ISSUES

We share a common approach to global issues, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, the Middle East and Libya.

Afghanistan and Pakistan:

We recognize the achievements and honor the sacrifices of our armed forces in Afghanistan, welcome the successes of the military campaign, and have decided to:

  • Continue close cooperation on our common goal of a stable, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan embedded in a stable, prosperous and peaceful region.
  • Support the transition to Afghan-led security responsibility while committing to long-term engagement to support Afghanistan’s stability and economic development.
  • Support and engage Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism, strengthen democracy and promote economic development.
  • Promote security, trade and investment in the region, stressing the importance of the upcoming Istanbul and Bonn conferences and the vision for a “New Silk Road.”

Middle East / North Africa:

We reaffirm the importance of continued assistance and support to encourage the democratic transitions taking place across the Middle East. We have decided to:

  • Reaffirm that we are in full agreement about the urgent need to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and strongly support the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Barack Obama in May 2011. We strongly appeal to the parties to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or preconditions.
  • Ensure full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions on Iran, while jointly addressing Iran’s deteriorating human rights situation.
  • Reiterate our call for Syrian president Assad to step aside and allow for a democratic transition to take place in Syria.
  • Work with the Libyan Transitional National Council and international community to support the Libyan people as they confront the challenges of a post-Qadhafi Libya, and encourage an inclusive transition that leads to a democratic Libya.

Development

We stress that international development assistance is critical to our diplomatic and national security interests, as it fosters stability, security and prosperity in developing regions and countries. Recognizing this, we have decided to:

  • Continue to strengthen the partnership between AusAID and USAID, which was formalized last year through a Memorandum of Understanding on international development cooperation.
  • Delegate cooperation agreements between USAID and AusAID in Tanzania, on maternal and child health and family planning, and in Indonesia, on water connections.
  • Continue cooperating closely in Afghanistan by supporting law and justice programs and dispute resolution mechanisms at the community level in Uruzgan Province, and by assisting the Government to deliver essential services through the Civilian Technical Assistance Program.
  • Plan to deploy Australian Civilian Corps personnel alongside U.S. Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization personnel to support conflict resolution and stabilization in South Sudan.
  • Develop opportunities for collaboration in East Asia, particularly in the lower Mekong region, to advance food security, mitigate HIV and other pandemic diseases, and address the impact of global climate change.

We reaffirm our shared commitment to addressing global development challenges including gender inequality and violence against women. Empowering and protecting women and girls requires strong, coordinated action by the international community. As an example of our shared commitment, Australia and the United States are co-hosting a policy dialogue this year on effective means to combat gender-based violence and promote the empowerment of women across the Pacific region.

IV. STRENGTHENING ALLIANCE COOPERATION

The U.S.-Australia alliance is a strategic anchor for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. On the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS Treaty, we approve of measures designed to further strengthen alliance cooperation, interoperability, and capabilities. We affirm the ANZUS Treaty and our shared commitment to advance peace, security, and prosperity. We are concerned by evolving threats in the sea, space, and cyberspace, and non-traditional security challenges, and have decided to:

  • Increase coordination and consultation on the evolving strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific, to ensure that the alliance adapts to address challenges as they arise.

Space

  • We endeavor to expand our close cooperation on space situational awareness and the development of transparency and confidence-building measures.
  • We support the efforts to develop a U.S.-Australia Combined Communications Partnership, building on the Military Satellite Communications Partnership Statement of Principles signed at AUSMIN in 2008.

Cyber

As a further reflection of our alliance’s continuing ability to adapt in the face of changing circumstances, we have decided to:

  • Address the growing cyber threats facing our two nations and the wider international community.
  • Endorse a joint statement, reflecting and enhancing the close collaboration between our two nations on cyber issues.

Force Posture

Last year, we established a bilateral working group to develop options to align our respective force postures in ways that would benefit the national security of both countries and which will help us to shape the emerging regional security environment. Together, we have refined and assessed a range of potential cooperative initiatives, including:

  • options for increased U.S. access to Australian training, exercise and test ranges;
  • the prepositioning of U.S. equipment in Australia;
  • options for greater use by the United States of Australian facilities and ports; and
  • options for joint and combined activities in the region.

Our discussions have acknowledged that our respective military forces must be postured to respond in a timely and effective way to the range of contingencies that may arise in our region, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and to enhance our ability to work with the armed forces of regional partners.

We are satisfied with the progress that has been made and have directed that the options be further developed for consideration by our respective Governments.

Interoperability

We underscore that interoperability has long been a hallmark of the alliance and will only grow stronger through closer alliance cooperation. The implementation of the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty will support this cooperation. We have decided to:

  • Enhance the interoperability of our forces, especially as this relates to our common commitment to cooperation on combat and transport aircraft, helicopters, submarine combat systems and torpedo technology.
  • Build on the expanded civilian component of the successful TALISMAN SABER exercise, our largest and most important combined military exercise, to strengthen interoperability and our combined capacity to deal with post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction.

Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD)

  • Australia noted and will continue to consult with the United States as it develops the phased adaptive approach to BMD outlined in the U.S. BMD Review, which will allow missile defense to be adapted to the threats unique to the Asia-Pacific.
  • We are continuing our cooperation to build a more detailed understanding of regional ballistic missile threats; cooperative research on systems to counter such threats; and options for practical cooperation in this area.

V. AUSMIN 2012

Australia looks forward to hosting the 2012 AUSMIN consultations.

 

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Public Schedule for September 15, 2011

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
September 15, 2011

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta co-chair the 2011 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in San Francisco, California. They are accompanied by Chief of Protocol Ambassador Marshall, Assistant Secretary Campbell and Assistant Secretary Shapiro. Click here for more information.

8:30 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton co-chairs AUSMIN Session I, at the Presidio Golden Gate Club in San Francisco.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

10:45 a.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton co-chairs AUSMIN Session II, at the Presidio Golden Gate Club in San Francisco.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:00 p.m. LOCAL  Secretary Clinton co-chairs AUSMIN Session III, at the Presidio Golden Gate Club in San Francisco.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

2:00 p.m. LOCAL  Secretaries Clinton and Panetta hold a joint press availability with Australian Ministers Rudd and Smith, at the Presidio Golden Gate Club Ventana Room, in San Francisco, California.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

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Remarks At the Australia-United States Ministerial

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Michael Rudd, Australian Defense Minister Stephen Francis Smith
Government House
Melbourne, Australia
November 8, 2010

FOREIGN MINISTER RUDD: Thank you very much. First of all, could I say to both the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State how terrific it’s been to have you here in Melbourne. Back in Washington, I said to both Hillary and Vira, a friend to Bob, we intended to show you a good time in Australia. I hope we’ve delivered on that. Neither had been to the great city of Melbourne before. They’ve had a bit of time to get out and about to see this town. And it’s been fantastic to be here and the weather gods have smiled on us miraculously for three days.

Also, the Secretary of State has been out and about with Australian students – the great forum yesterday at Melbourne University. Also, we had an opportunity, as four ministers yesterday, to pay our respects to Australians who are dead at the Shrine of Remembrance. And always a telling reminder of the ties that bind, and those ties have often been purchased with the ultimate sacrifice.

Beyond that, of course, our principal purpose in being here is for AUSMIN itself, the 25th occasion in which we have met in this forum. And as we approach our 60th anniversary of our alliance and this year celebrate the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic relationship, we had plenty to talk about – not just a rehearsal of past values and continuing values and common values, but also the application of this alliance to our future challenges and opportunities in the region.

Together, we reaffirmed our commitment to the ongoing international effort in Afghanistan. This is a tough fight, but we are there as continuing and enduring and strong partners of the United States and our other NATO and ISAF allies. We affirmed our support for Pakistan and given the challenges that that country faces, but its critical relevance to what we are seeking to do together in Afghanistan itself. We have expressed our deep concern for Iran’s continuing nuclear program and we continue to monitor developments there closely.

Within our region, we’ve been reminded again today of some of the challenges which continue on the fundamental observance of human rights – the Burmese elections. We are waiting to see what precisely is produced by way of results there. These elections have been far from free and far from fair. A number of democratic parties have participated and we will be watching very closely what emerges from the Burmese political process. The people of Burma deserve much better than the regime they have got.

Of course, within our wider region, we are committed to building a strong, comprehensive, and positive relationship with the People’s Republic of China. And I was in China myself recently and I know our American partners have – counterparts have been there in recent times as well. Elsewhere within the region, we reaffirmed the importance and the strength of our continued security cooperation with Japan and the Republic of Korea and others in Southeast Asia. These democracies within our region, these countries who have many common security interests with us – we are pursuing those interests together and in tandem with our alliance with the United States.

Of course, within our wider region, what we have also discussed and affirmed in our communiqué together is how we now deploy the East Asian Summit, which now includes the United States and Russia, to further develop our region’s architecture. This is something which has been near and dear to Australia’s heart for some time and we welcome the decision by the Government of the United States to join this regional institution. It provides us an opportunity to develop a regional set of rules and norms for security and political and wider behavior within the East Asian region. The architectural question has, in many senses, been delivered. Our challenge now is one of the evolving agenda of this body and how we make it work for the future so that all the countries of our region share a common rules-based order and abide by those rules.

Finally, on the global front, we also discussed our continued challenges in the global economy, our continued cooperation as Australia and the United States through the G-20. The Secretary of State in her remarks the other day spoke about the three Ds of American foreign policy and broader security policy – defense, diplomacy, and development. And against each of those measures, we in Australia are seeking to work as closely as we can with our American allies. The security relationship, the defense relationship speaks for itself. Our significant foreign policy and diplomatic footprints around the world and in the region work together.

But on the development front, as Secretary Clinton reminded us the other day, we are people of good heart and good spirit who seek to make the lot of humankind within our neighborhood somewhat better. And that’s what we’re doing through our own increase and our own overseas development assistance program, but working increasingly in partnership with USAID. Getting these three things right is about how we actually shape the future together.

So Secretary Gates, Secretary Clinton, Stephen and I have been delighted to be able to host you to this 25th AUSMIN. You are, as you know, always welcome guests here in Australia, and we look forward to this relationship continuing into the future at our next AUSMIN to be held in the United States.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Kevin, and thanks to you and Stephen and your respective teams for all the work and planning that went into this AUSMIN. I think it is fair to say that both Secretary Gates and I deeply appreciate the warm welcome we have received and the continuing consultation and planning that is really at the core of our alliance.

As Kevin said, we covered a very broad agenda, as is the case when we have these annual meetings. A lot of work goes on between them, so we were able to catch each other up on our respective perspectives and experience in the region and globally on the range of issues that Kevin just mentioned. Our efforts to strengthen the regional architecture – the United States joining the East Asia Summit and other connections from ASEAN and the regional forum to APEC – are really, in large measure, a result of the excellent advice that we received from Kevin over the past 20 months.

Talking about individual situations from North Korea to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, talking about the very important relationship that we each have with China and how best to proceed to ensure that it is a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive one – talking too about the importance of the security issues here in the Pacific, especially as the relate to our Pacific Island nation neighbors and friends, this was a broad, far-reaching, and extremely valuable set of consultations.

We also were pleased, finally, to be able to tell our Australian friends that the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty finally passed in the United States Congress. That was a major accomplishment. And I can’t help but say we now wait for it to pass in the Australian parliament and – (laughter) – then we can get about the business of working even more closely together.

So again, thank you. We look forward to hosting you next year.

DEFENSE MINISTER SMITH: Well, thank you very much, Kevin, to Secretary of State Clinton, to Secretary of Defense. I join with Kevin in both welcoming you officially to this year’s AUSMIN consultations, but also to say that we’ve had a most productive conversation in the course of the day, traversing the array of strategic interests and challenges that Australia and the United States face now and include the future. Of course, the Australia-U.S. alliance remains the bedrock of our strategic, security, and defense arrangement.

We, of course, traversed Afghanistan, and I’ll simply say that we are very pleased with the way in which Australia and the United States are combining and operating very well on the ground in Uruzgan province. With the departure of the Dutch recently, the reconfigured ISAF arrangement in Uruzgan is now the so-called combined task force Uruzgan, jointly partnered by Australia and the United States, and we’re very pleased with that progress.

Kevin referred to the regional architecture and the future accession into the East Asia Summit of the United States and Russia. Bob and I were recently in Hanoi where, at defense ministers level, the same arrangement occurred for the first time, the so-called ASEAN Defense Ministers Plus, which saw the United States and Russia attending that meeting. So both in the economic and prosperity and in the defense base, the regional architecture is now, in Australia’s view, set up for the future.

In terms of alliance cooperation and defense matters, we spoke about the United States’ force posture review which has not yet been concluded. That is underway. We will continue to be in consultation with the United States in the course of that force posture review, and in due course, see what implications if any arise for Australia. Both the foreign minister and I have made it very clear over the last couple of days that, of course, we welcome very much the ongoing operational arrangement that we have with the United States, whether that is through our joint facilities or whether that is through visits and access to facilities. As for any future enhancement of that, we will make that judgment once the force posture review has itself been delivered, but we will continue to be in very close contact in that respect.

Having said that, we welcome very much – we welcome very much the United States’ enhanced engagement in the Asia Pacific region, and we see the force posture review as adding to that enhanced engagement. In the materials that you’ve been distributed, you also see that we have made progress in two of the challenges of this century, newly emerging challenges both in cooperation in space surveillance and space situational awareness and also in the area of cyber and cyber attacks.

We also, as Secretary of State Clinton has said, welcomed very much the fact that the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty has passed through the United States Congress. Our timetable is to endeavor to have legislation in the first parliamentary session of next year. We are very keen, urged on by Ambassador Beazley, to put ourselves in a legislative position to ratify the treaty. We are, of course, only the second nation after the United Kingdom in respect of which such a treaty will exist, and we welcome that very much.

Secretary of Defense Gates and I have also formally exchanged letters on the full knowledge and concurrence arrangements so far as to how (inaudible) communication station is concerned. There is no change in substance. These reflect for the future the arrangements that have been in place for some time, but we welcome that which reflects the ongoing nature of the joint facilities in Australia so far as Australia and the United States is concerned. Thank you.

Bob.

SECRETARY GATES: First, I would like to join Secretary Clinton in thanking Foreign Minister Rudd and Defense Minister Smith for hosting us here today in Melbourne. This is the third opportunity I’ve had as Secretary of Defense to participate in the Australia-United States ministerial, and my second visit to Australia for AUSMIN. These gatherings, now in their 25th year, reflect the continued strength of our alliance and provide an important forum to advance our many shared interests.

In the defense arena, our ties are longstanding and deep. American and Australian forces have fought side by side in every major conflict over the past century, including the war in Afghanistan, a focus of our discussion today. Australia’s efforts in Uruzgan province, including taking full responsibility for training the Afghan force brigade, are making a real difference on the ground and helping put Afghanistan on a path to providing for its own security. The United States Government, and I would say the American people, are keenly aware of the price Australia has paid as the largest non-NATO contributor of combat troops.

Last night, Secretary Clinton and I were honored to participate with Kevin and Stephen in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance here in Melbourne, an enduring emblem of the sacrifices made by Australian troops and their families over the past century. Yet even as we reaffirm our strong shared commitment to Afghanistan, today, we also discussed our cooperation across a range of other issues to ensure that with our combined military capabilities, we’ll be ready to address the new security challenges in the years to come.

To this end, we discussed efforts to enhance our presence and posture in the Pacific and how we can work together to do this more effectively as the United States Department of Defense begins discussions with allies on our Global Posture Review. Today, we agreed to create a bilateral force posture working group to begin developing options for enhanced joint defense cooperation on Australian soil.

We’re also working hand-in-hand to enhance cooperation between our two nations in emerging domains such as space and cyberspace. The Space Situational Awareness Partnership Statement of Principle signed today, for example, will lead to greater cooperation between our militaries in the areas of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. This alliance has never been more important and the ties between our two nations and our two militaries, bonds of shared culture, interests and values give me great confidence that we stand ready to confront the challenges of this new century, as we have in the past. Thank you.

DEFENSE MINISTER SMITH: All right. (Inaudible) on the first question, can I add one personal note? And that is how delighted we were yesterday to participate at a ceremony here in Government House to have extended the Honorary Order of Australia in the Military Division to Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mike is an extraordinary leader in the U.S. military. He’s become an extraordinary friend of Australia. As we said to Mike last night, we don’t give these things out every day. We extend them to people whose contribution to our common cause, our common values, and to this nation is a decision which reflects the high regard with which the admiral is held.

Now, questions. I think, Heather, you have a question.

QUESTION: Thank you. Heather Youris, ABC Television, and my question is directed to Secretary of State. In the work that went on here this morning, have you been mapping out an exit strategy for Afghanistan? And what conditions would have to be set for this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, to the contrary. We are in agreement that the strategies that we are implementing together in Afghanistan is the right strategy, and that we are committed to pursuing that strategy and being very conscious of the challenges that it poses to us. We are, at this point in our analysis, satisfied with how it is proceeding.

We have said from the very beginning that the goal is to be able to transition security to the Afghans themselves, starting next year. But that transition will be conditions-based and will be determined as the analysis of our commanders in the field suggests to the civilian leadership in both of our countries. It is really important to underscore that the progress that we believe is occurring is very challenging, it takes patience, it requires all of us to understand that this is a tough fight that we’re in. But we’re convinced that starting next year, there will be parts of Afghanistan that will be under the control of the Afghan Government and its security forces. We can’t stand here today and tell you when or on what timetable or any of the details because we will be making those assessments based on the conditions as they occur.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. If I could have a question now from one of our American colleagues here.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. My question is for Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now saying only a credible military threat can deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Do you agree with him? How long can the United States expect Israel to wait for sanctions that have so far failed to stop Tehran’s nuclear program? And lastly, would you accept Iran’s request to hold nuclear talks this month in Turkey? Thank you.

SECRETARY GATES: Well, first of all, the President has said repeatedly that when it comes to Iran, all options are on the table. And we are doing what we need to do to ensure that he has those options. That said, we are convinced that nonmilitary actions, including, most significantly, the most recent UN Security Council resolution and the individual countries’ approval of even more rigorous sanctions including, I might say, Australia, is bringing pressure to bear on the Iranian Government that is getting their attention. We know that they are concerned about the impact of the sanctions. The sanctions are biting more deeply than they anticipated. And we are working very hard at this.

So I would say that I disagree that only a credible military threat can get Iran to take the actions that it needs to to end its nuclear weapons program. We are prepared to do what is necessary, but at this point, we are – we continue to believe that the political, economic approach that we are taking is, in fact, having an impact in Iran.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I agree with Bob’s description and I would only add that the so-called P-5+1 has offered to meet with Iran concerning its nuclear program. The Iranians have reached back out and said they would willing to meet, but so far as I know, there is not yet any date or time for that meeting. They know where they should be directing their response. That’s to Cathy Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union. But certainly, we’ve made it clear we would welcome a return to the negotiating table.

MODERATOR: Can I ask for a question, I think, from Sabra Lane, from the ABC.

QUESTION: Brendan Nicholson from The Australian, to Secretary Clinton and Secretary —

MODERATOR: Brendan, I’m sorry. I said I’m badly briefed. Over to you, Mate.

QUESTION: That’s good, thanks. To Secretary Clinton or Secretary Gates, China largely escaped the impact of the global financial crisis, and while many countries have been winding back on investment in their defense apparatus, China’s been investing heavily in its armed forces. To what extent is the United States’ consolidation of relationships in this region and your concerns about cyber security a consequence of these developments with China? And are you concerned about any backlash from China?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, the United States has a long presence in the Asia Pacific. We’ve been here for a hundred years. I think our fleet came in 1908, as I recall, at the direction of President Teddy Roosevelt —

PARTICIPANT: Had a good time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: — and had a good time. (Laughter.) And we —

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. (Laughter.) And so we’ve been here, we are here, and we will be here. The United States is both a Pacific and an Atlantic power. And if there were any question or doubt about our intentions, I hope that the last 20 months of the Obama Administration has put those finally to rest. This is my sixth trip to the region. The President is on his second trip as we speak, currently in India. And just as with any alliance or any force posture, we have to be constantly evaluating, are we prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

And that is the process that we are going through along with our colleagues from Australia and others in the region. But we are determined to strengthen and deepen our already strong alliances with countries like Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand to build relationships bilaterally and multilaterally with other nations, to work through these regional organizations, to solve problems like maintaining the freedom of navigation and maritime security that is essential to trade and commerce throughout the region.

And we have a very robust dialogue with China where we discuss many of the matters that are of importance to both of us bilaterally and our position regionally and globally. And the United States has consistently said that we welcome the economic success of China, the positive effects that it is having on the Chinese people. As China becomes more of a player in regional and global affairs, then we expect that China will be a responsible player and will participate in the international framework of rules that govern the way nations behave and conduct themselves.

So we have – we’re not doing anything differently in any significant degree. We are merely taking stock of what we’re going to be needing to do in the future so that we are well-prepared and working closely with our friends and allies.

SECRETARY GATES: I haven’t got a thing to add to that.

MODERATOR: What’s that?

SECRETARY GATES: I haven’t got a thing to add to that. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: I thought that’s what you said, but I thought I should check. One further question from our American friends.

QUESTION: This is for Secretary Clinton. Is it your understanding that there is a power-sharing agreement in Iraq where Talibani would stay on as president, Maliki as prime minister, and the al-Iraqiya coalition would offer the post of – be offered the post of speaker? And does this mean that the Iraqis have finally found a way to manage their ethnic rivalries and produce a functioning government?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Lachlan, until a deal on government formation is actually announced by the Iraqis themselves, I am not going to comment or respond. Probably over the course of the last eight months, we’ve had many indications that they were close to an agreement, they were on the brink of government formation, they had worked out their power-sharing arrangements only not to see that come to fruition.

But it is fair to say that we have been consistently urging the Iraqis to have an inclusive government that reflects the interests and needs of the various segments of the population, that there had to be legitimate power-sharing amongst different groups and individuals. And that is what we hope at the end of this process, and we hope we aren’t near the end of it, will be the result of all of their negotiation.

MODERATOR: This is yours. Thank you.

QUESTION: I have a question to you, Secretary Clinton, and also to Secretary Gates. Secretary Clinton, how would you characterize the significance of these talks that you have held today and in regards to the force posture review? You hinted at yesterday that you would like to pre-deploy equipment here in Australia. What kind of equipment are you talking about? How soon might that possibly happen? And does that involve a permanent presence of U.S. troops with that equipment?

And to Secretary Gates, about this space awareness program, obviously the preference, it sounds like, is to place something at (inaudible). How soon would you like to see those radars in place? And specifically, we’re not talking just about space junket satellites, but obviously keeping track of missiles and that some actions that might be mistaken as attempts by foes to – for exit at – seen in a good manner.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me answer the first part of your question, but the second part and this last question Bob should answer.

The first part is how would I characterize these talks? I would characterize them as extremely productive, constructive, very warm, and practical. We not only spoke about many of the issues we each see in the region as well as globally, but what we’re going to do about them, how we’re going to work together, what more we need to do in order to come to some recommendations about the way forward. And I have to commend both Kevin and Stephen because they think hard and very, very well about these difficult issues.

And so for Bob and me, this is an ongoing conversation. We just hold a public event like this once a year, but we’re in constant contact back and forth all the time about what we see happening and the progress that we’re making on the various issues that we’re addressing. So I have a very high regard for both ministers, a deep appreciation for Australia’s strong, diplomatic defense and development capacity and feel extremely satisfied at the outcome of this particular meeting.

SECRETARY GATES: With respect to force posture, first of all, we have, as a result of this meeting, established this force posture working group that will address the very issues you’ve asked about, and to look at the array of enhanced joint activities we might be able to undertake.

Beyond that, I would say speculation is way premature because I have not even made decisions within the Department of Defense on what I’m going to recommend to our own National Security Council and the President that we do in Asia, except to say that the one thing I believe we all agree on is we are looking at an enhanced presence in – for the United States in Asia, and not some kind of cutback. We – as Secretary Clinton said, we are a Pacific power. We have reengaged in a major way. And now, we are looking at the next steps in that.

With respect to the radars, we will begin discussions on this. It clearly does cover space debris in low and middle earth orbit space junk as well as satellites and so on, and we will be exploring what’s of mutual benefit. And those discussions won’t even begin until, I think, January.

FOREIGN MINISTER RUDD: (Inaudible) folks, for those in the broader community who ask questions about what an alliance is, I think from our point of view in Australia, it’s pretty simple. An alliance is a relationship between friends who share common values, who stand by each other through thick and thin. That’s the history of this alliance and that’s the future of this alliance.

To Hillary and to Bob, safe travels. Hillary is going back stateside, Bob to Western Australia with Stephen, I think. Is that right?

SECRETARY GATES: I wish. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) stateside as well.

DEFENSE MINISTER SMITH: Misrepresentation.

FOREIGN MINISTER RUDD: He’s heading back as well. Thank you very much.

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Public Schedule for November 8, 2010

Washington, DC
November 8, 2010

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton travels to the Asia Pacific region. For more information, click here.

8:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends AUSMIN Session I, in Melbourne, Australia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

10:00 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends AUSMIN Session II, in Melbourne, Australia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

11:45 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends AUSMIN Session III, in Melbourne, Australia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

12:10 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton attends the AUSMIN working lunch, in Melbourne, Australia.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

1:45 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in an AUSMIN press availability with Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith, in Melbourne, Australia.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

11:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton participates in a traditional Samoan Welcoming Ceremony, in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

11:25 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with Governor of American Samoa Togiola Tulafono, in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
(POOLED CAMERA SPRAY)

PM Secretary Clinton returns from foreign travel.

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Remarks With Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, and Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon

Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
April 9, 2009

Date: 04/09/2009 Description: Remarks by Secretary Clinton with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, and Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.  State Dept PhotoSECRETARY CLINTON: Before I get started and talk about the important and substantive meeting we had today, I want to say a word about the situation involving the Maersk ship. Secretary Gates and I are fully engaged in this matter. We consider it a very serious matter. These people are nothing more than criminals. And we are bringing to bear a number of our assets, including naval and FBI work in order to resolve the hostage situation and bring the pirates to justice. Piracy may be a centuries-old crime, but we are working to bring an appropriate 21st century response.

Today, it’s been a great pleasure to host not only my colleague, Secretary Gates, but also Foreign Minister Smith and Defense Minister Fitzgibbon for this year’s Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations. As President Obama said a few weeks ago when he met with Prime Minister Rudd, there are few countries that have been closer than the United States and Australia. And I think holding this AUSMIN meeting during the Obama Administration’s first 100 days underscores the importance we attach to our alliance and our belief in the strength of our partnership to meet bilateral, regional, and global challenges.
We had a far-reaching discussion that was indicative of the shared values and common approaches we take on many issues. We talked about our cooperation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, how we will intensify our efforts to defeat extremism, strengthen the rule of law, and promote economic development. We look forward to discussing these issues with the international community at the April 17th Pakistan donors conference in Tokyo.
We also discussed Iran and the ongoing efforts of the international community to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes. We discussed the important goal of nonproliferation and a world without nuclear weapons, and how we will work together to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty regime.
And of course, we talked a lot about Asia. The United States is back engaged more fully in Asia. We need to expand our partnerships in the Asia Pacific region to address a wide range of concerns, from security issues to the economic crisis to climate change. We appreciate the constructive advice of our friends, and we are listening. Our commitment to a more rigorous, persistent engagement with the countries of Asia goes hand in hand with the work we do together with Australia. And our conversation underscored what a valuable partner Australia is in this endeavor, how we can use smart power to achieve shared security and shared prosperity.
The AUSMIN communiqué, which has been agreed upon and distributed, highlights several other outcomes of the meeting today. But let me just conclude by saying what a pleasure it was for me personally to host this important meeting, how very pleased I am with the discussions we had, and how much I’m looking forward to building on our valuable and enduring friendship. So thank you both very much and your delegations for coming, and now let me ask Foreign Minister Smith to address you.
FOREIGN MINISTER SMITH: Well, Madame Secretary, thank you very much for that. And on behalf of the Australian delegation, can I thank you and Secretary of Defense Gates very much, firstly for your warm welcome, and secondly for the very positive and constructive and substantive conversation we’ve had today.
Mr. Fitzgibbon and I have been in the United States, in Washington, for the last two days. Yesterday, we had a series of bilateral meetings, as you and I did. And today, of course, we had the formal AUSMIN Consultations. The AUSMIN Consultations underline the importance of the alliance relationship between Australia and the United States. This is an alliance relationship that has served us very well for 60 years or so, and it remains an indispensible part of Australia’s security, strategic, and defense arrangements.
We’ve been having AUSMIN meetings since 1985, so next year in Australia will be the 25th AUSMIN that we conduct in 2010. And it has become the important premier organizational institution so far as the alliance is concerned.
In addition to the importance of the relationship between Australia and the United States, as Secretary of State Clinton has indicated, we traversed the array of important global issues, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, including Iran, including our shared commitment to nuclear nonproliferation, the abolition ultimately of nuclear weapons, and our concern about proliferation, particularly North Korea and Iran.
We talked extensively about the importance of the United States engagement in the Asia Pacific, and we welcome very much – welcome very much – the very strong message from the new Administration that the United States wants to enhance its engagement in the Asia Pacific. And the Secretary of State’s first visit to Indonesia, China, Japan, and Korea reflected this, and we welcome that very much.
Mr. Fitzgibbon and I were very pleased with the positive and constructive conversation that we had. Of course, we spoke about Afghanistan, and within the context of the overarching strategic review conducted by Mr. Riedel, which was effectively – which is effectively now, following the Afghanistan meeting in The Hague last week, now we believe an international consensus to pursue a greater military contribution, but importantly a greater civilian capacity-building and training contribution, and at some stage, the need for political dialogue amongst the Afghanistan leadership.
In that context, of course, we had a discussion about what, if anything, more Australia could do in the civil reconstruction or training area, in military contribution, and also, importantly, any temporary contribution we could make for the election in August of this year. Those discussions were very helpful, and Mr. Fitzgibbon and I will take the benefit of those discussions back to Australia to discuss with the prime minister and our other cabinet colleagues. No decisions were made, no requests made, and no commitments given, but it was a very helpful discussion so far as the Australian Government coming to a conclusion about what, if anything, we can do further to help. And as I’ve indicated publicly over the last couple of days, we expect that that decision will be made in a matter of weeks. So we expect in the very near future to be able to make and announce a formal decision on that matter.
Madame Secretary, thank you very much for your hospitality and for the constructive and positive dialogue that we’ve had today. And we look forward to welcoming you and Secretary of Defense Gates to Australia next year for the AUSMIN Consultations. And of course, in the meantime, as is always the case, both of you are welcome warmly to attend Australia anytime you feel like it. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.
MR. WOOD: The first question will be from Matt Lee, Associated Press.
QUESTION: Hi, Madame Secretary and gentlemen.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello.
QUESTION: I’m wondering if Secretary Gates and Secretary Clinton could be a little bit more specific about the – what the U.S. is doing in this pirate situation right now in terms of this individual incident. But also, I’m wondering if I can ask all of you what exactly can and should be done to address what seems to be the root cause of this, which is the instability and insecurity in Somalia.
SECRETARY GATES: Let me take the first part of the question and ask Secretary Clinton to take the second part.
I really don’t have a lot to add to what Secretary Clinton said. We are monitoring the situation, obviously, very closely. The safe return of the captain is the top priority. We obviously have a naval presence in the area and other assets, and we are obviously looking at our options. But again, foremost in our minds is the safety of the captain.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to the general problem posed by piracy off the Horn of Africa, the State Department has been in the lead in helping to put together an international task force. There are a number of nations now, ranging from, of course, the United States to Europe to Asia, including Japan and China and Korea, which have naval vessels in the waters off the Horn of Africa. I think the ocean area we’re referring to is three times the size of Texas. I mean, we’re talking about a very large expanse of water with a lot of naval traffic going through it.
We have had some success in coordinating amongst the contributors to this naval task force. We are looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of what we are doing, including the recruitment of additional partners to be part of the surveillance work that is done. But we also understand that the instability in Somalia is a contributing factor to those who take to the seas in order to board ships, hijack them, intimidate and threaten their crews, and then seek ransom.
If there is any good news in this, it is that, thus far, these matters have not resulted in loss of life and violent conflict. And that is an important consideration, which is why, as Secretary Gates said; we are following this carefully and monitoring it. We have an American citizen who is currently being held hostage by the group of individuals in a lifeboat. So we are watching this and intend to do all we can to make sure there is no loss of life.
I guess I would conclude by saying that this is an old scourge. One of the very first actions that was undertaken by our country in its very beginning was to go after pirates along the Barbary Coast. And it’s important that we come up with an international resolution of this, and we will be consulting closely and widely to determine what else other countries are willing to do and what further steps the international community believes should be taken.
MR. WOOD: The next question Michael Rowland, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Gates, when you do get around to asking formally for more Australian help in Afghanistan, will you be seeking combat troops as well as military trainers and civilians? And Minister Fitzgibbon is that something Australia will countenance?
SECRETARY GATES: Well, let me just make two observations. First, Australia has been there with us throughout and has been in the thick of the fighting, has lost too many of its sons. And I think that the way that I would put it is the way I described our goals when I was at Krakow for the defense ministers meeting, which is, obviously, in all of these areas, civilian, military, military training, police training; we and the Afghans can use all the help we can get. What Australia is prepared to do is clearly up to the Australians.
FOREIGN MINISTER FITZGIBBON: I’d like just to preface my answer by thanking Secretaries Clinton and Gates for making themselves available so early in the period of the new Administration. We had very fruitful discussions today. We appreciated it very much.
Look, we did have also a very productive discussion about Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of course, the discussion today gave both Minister Smith and I a greater appreciation of the new strategy and how it will work, and we again come out of the meeting with a conclusion that this is a good strategy, it’s a welcome strategy, and Australia certainly supports that strategy.
Of course, we talked about what the partner nations more generally can do to further promote progress in Afghanistan. We talked about the military side. We talked about the civil side. We talked about the reconstruction side. From Australia’s perspective, we would always, of course, consider any request from our closest and most important ally. The important thing from our perspective is: Would an additional contribution from us in concert with additional contributions from other partner nations further progress – further achieve a progress in Afghanistan and, on that basis, allow us all to go home sooner rather than later?
MR. WOOD: The next question will be from James Rosen of Fox News.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. A question for each of the American officials: Secretary Gates, on the day when the Obama Administration is announcing its request for $83 billion in supplemental war funding, I wonder what you make of the criticism that has arisen both specifically of this request, but more broadly of the President’s expansion of the war by democratic lawmakers in Congress.
But first, Madame Secretary – (laughter) –
SECRETARY CLINTON: I was getting to feel left out, James.
QUESTION: Never. Just one day after the United States announced its latest overture to Iran, specifically the agreement of Ambassador Burns to sit in on all P-5+1 contacts with Iranians, the regime in Iran has made a huge display today of announcing that it is currently operating 7,000 centrifuges. That is approximately 1,500 more centrifuges than what IAEA nuclear inspectors claimed to have observed in February in their latest report. So first, do you believe this claim about 7,000 centrifuges, and do you see it as a rebuff?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, James, first of all, we don’t know what to believe about the Iranian program. We’ve heard many different assessments and claims over a number of years. One of the reasons why we are participating in the P-5+1 is to enforce the international obligations that Iran should be meeting, to ensure that the IAEA is the source of credible information, because as you just pointed out, there is a great gap between what the IAEA observed about seven – six, seven weeks ago, and what the Iranians are now claiming. It would benefit the Iranians in our view if they cooperated with the international community, if they abided by a set of obligations and expectations that affect them, and by which we believe they are bound. And we’re going to continue to insist on that.
We do not attribute any particular meaning with respect to the range of issues that we are looking to address with the Iranians from this particular statement.
SECRETARY GATES: I believe that there is very broad, bipartisan support in the Congress for the decisions the President has made with respect to both Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s always a full range of views on the Hill, but I believe that the overwhelming majority approve of these decisions and the policies the President has approved.
Reality is, the alternative to the supplemental is a sudden and precipitous withdrawal from the United States of both places – from both places. And I don’t know anybody who thinks that’s a good idea. The reality is it would put everything we have achieved in Iraq at tremendous risk, and it would, I believe, greatly endanger our troops, some kind of a precipitous withdrawal. So I think the kind of timetable that the President has laid out in Iraq, I think the approach that he has taken in Afghanistan not only are the right ones, but I think they have very broad support. And all I can say is that I hope on behalf of both Secretary Clinton and myself that the Congress acts on the supplemental as quickly as possible.
MR. WOOD: The last question will come from Bernie Lagan of the Sydney Morning Herald.
QUESTION: Thank you. Yes, I have a question for Madame Secretary and Minister Smith. Given recent reports of cybersecurity issues related to China, issues with both our countries, are you considering putting those issues on the agenda in the trilateral security dialogue with Japan?
FOREIGN MINISTER SMITH: Well, can I say that when I’m asked about cybersecurity, I don’t identify one particular incident, one country, or one threat. This is a issue which Australia has made it clear we address generally, and there are very strong references to the need to apply appropriate resources to protect against cybersecurity in our recent national security document. This is an issue which all modern nation-states confront. Other than very strongly supporting the ongoing trilateral security dialogue between Australia, the United States, and Japan, we haven’t got to what might be on the agenda for that.
But can I say questions of information security have been the subject of discussion between Australia and Japan in the past. But cybersecurity is a growing issue of concern for all of us, for all nation-states, and that was certainly one of the matters that we spoke about today.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I have nothing to add to the minister’s comment, other than to underscore how important this issue is, and it will deserve and receive a great deal of attention from both of our governments.
MR. WOOD: Thank you all very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

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