Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis are in Sydney, Australia, June 5–6, participating in the 2017 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations hosted by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.
T-Rex, Mattis and their Australian counterparts are discussing a full range of U.S-Australian cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global issues.
Press Conference Video: (U.S. media show publicly why T-Rex dislikes them at 16:30, who was that idjit.)
Secretary Tillerson will then travel to New Zealand to discuss strategic interests with Prime Minister English and Foreign Minister Brownlee.
SECRETARY TILLERSON: Thank you, Julie, and good afternoon, everyone. And let me begin, of course, by thanking Foreign Minister Bishop and Defense Minister Payne for their hospitality and for hosting this session of AUSMIN. Minister Bishop was one of my first counterparts that I met with when she traveled to Washington, and that began a very, very productive dialogue that has continued certainly through today. Secretary Mattis and I obviously look forward to having dinner this evening with Prime Minister Turnbull, and we know we’re going to have a very fruitful exchange in that sense as well.
We had very productive meetings today, as Foreign Minister Bishop described to you. We covered a broad range of topics that are important to both of us, obviously clear that our longstanding friendship with Australia will continue to remain strong.
Our shared values of freedom, democracy, a rules-based order, are long bonds that have been formed in the sacrifices that we have made together over the past century through two world wars, and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in upholding these values of freedom and democracy and a rules-based order evident today in our joint efforts in this fight against terrorism.
Today, we also speak with one voice in calling for North Korea to abandon its illegal nuclear weapons program. China and other regional partners should also step up their efforts to help solve this security situation which threatens not just that region but really presents a threat to the entire world.
The U.S. and Australia also reaffirmed our commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the seas, particularly the South China Sea and elsewhere, to ensure unimpeded flow of lawful commerce and a rules-based order. We oppose China’s artificial island construction and their militarization of features in international waters.
China is a significant economic and trading power, and we desire a productive relationship, but we cannot allow China to use its economic power to buy its way out of other problems, whether it’s militarizing islands in the South China Sea or failure to put appropriate pressure on North Korea. They must recognize that with a role as a growing economic and trading power comes security responsibilities as well.
Australia and the U.S. will work together to support democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, and that includes defending the rules-based order which the Asia Pacific region depends upon.
We are certainly grateful for Australia’s commitment to defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria, wherever else they may show their face, and certainly their face is appearing in the region. Countering violent extremism, stemming the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, and shutting down propaganda arms online remains a shared goal for both the United States and Australia.
We reaffirm the strong state of bilateral defense, security, and intelligence cooperation under our alliance, as well as the strength of our bilateral security relationships with Japan, and our commitment to enhancing that trilateral cooperation. I’ll leave it to Secretary Mattis to tell you more about these discussions.
We also share with Australia a keen interest in ensuring our economic policies advance prosperity at home as well as abroad. Australian companies employ almost 100,000 Americans, and American companies in Australia employ about 335,000 Australians. Good trade policies mean good jobs for both of our peoples.
On behalf the United States, I’m grateful to the government and the people of Australia for hosting our delegation and for a spirit of cooperation that’s benefited both of our nations, and has for decades, and will continue in the future, and as Foreign Minister Bishop said, we look forward to continuing the dialogues among our staffs while we make our way to next year’s AUSMIN in Washington, D.C.
So again, thank you, and I’ll turn it to Senator Payne.
ABOVE – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson walking with with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne walking with with Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Location New South Wales Government House.
You can find more pictures from T-Rex and Mattis Trip HERE