Sydney — 27 July 1996
The U.S. and Australia: Strengthening Our Alliance for the Post-Cold War Era
Secretary Christopher, Australian Foreign Minister Downer, Secretary of Defense Perry, Australian Defense Minister McLachlan
Remarks following Australia-U.S. Ministerial, Sydney, Australia, July 27, 1996
Good morning. We have been delighted to host not only the United States Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, but also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific. The inclusion of these four together in the delegation means that it is the most significant delegation to have taken part in AUSMIN in Australia. This demonstrates the importance both sides are attaching to the relationship.
From the perspective of the Australian Government, this meeting has been an important step forward in reinvigorating our long-standing and much valued bilateral relationship. A key outcome for both countries from this meeting has been the strong reaffirmation of the centrality of the alliance relationship to Australia's foreign and security policy. We have made some important progress at this AUSMIN meeting in advancing our common agenda. We have made decisions on military training, the use of the joint facilities, and we have shared our perspectives and analysis with one another on the regional security outlook. Most importantly, we have encapsulated new directions in our security relationship in a new joint security declaration. Significantly, we have recognized that the Australia-United States alliance has immense importance for the region.
A key theme of the meeting has been the importance we both place on continuing United States engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States underwrites security in the Asia-Pacific, and the United States has been a driving force of economic growth and prosperity in the region. I stressed the value of the Australia-United States alliance relationship in my recent meetings with key regional partners, including Indonesia and China, when I briefed them on the AUSMIN talks during my recent visit to Jakarta. I impressed upon them that a stronger Australia-U.S. relationship not only brought great benefits to both our countries but also to the region as a whole. This alliance is an integral element of the mutually reinforcing web of security arrangements in the region. These linkages ensure the continuation of strong economic growth in the region. Australia and the United States have a long record of close cooperation in fostering region-wide economic initiatives such as APEC. We have also worked closely in the World Trade Organization and its predecessor, the GATT, in bringing about the successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round. And we are committed to maintaining the momentum for further trade liberalization.
As with the best of friends, we have our differences; for example, we have continuing concerns with U.S. agricultural export subsidies, although that situation is improving. But these differences do not detract from the vast array of issues where we have an identity of interests. On global security issues, we have common approaches to a wide range of areas such as the comprehensive test ban treaty, a ban on anti-personnel land mines and weapons of mass destruction, and we share a commitment to conflict prevention mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum. We also recognize that non-military threats to global security, such as the spread of illicit narcotics, are also important and need to be addressed.
In the 46 years since the signing of the ANZUS Treaty, the Australia-United States alliance relationship has stood the test of time. The new security declaration we have agreed on at this meeting not only reaffirms our long-standing relationship but lays important groundwork for its future development. I would like to conclude by thanking Secretary Christopher and Secretary Perry for the very valuable input they made to the meeting and for the close cooperation that has developed between Ian McLachlan and me on the one hand, and the two United States cabinet members on the other. We have developed a very good, personal relationship and had an extremely constructive meeting. Thank you.
Good morning. It gives me a lot of pleasure to be here at the conclusion of this year's U.S.- Australia ministerial. The Minister has given such a good summary of the topics we discussed that I can shorten my remarks and telescope them considerably. As he said, the joint security declaration we issued today affirms the validity and importance of our 45 year-old alliance and especially underscores its validity in the post-Cold War era. As part of that effort, we have agreed to strengthen the defense cooperation which is the bedrock of our alliance; we will establish new and expanded training facilities for the marines here in Australia as well as increase our opportunities for joint combined exercises next year.
We began this session with a very impressive strategic review by Prime Minister Howard of regional security issues, and I think that provided a very good foundation for our discussions. The United States and Australia see eye-to-eye on the importance of the U.S.-Japan security alliance as well as on China's integration as a strong and constructive member of the international community. We agreed to seek wide support for our efforts to ensure that North Korea's nuclear program remains on the way to dismantlement, and we are promoting a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through the proposal for Four Party Talks. I am pleased that I heard overnight that our Congress has taken action which puts the United States on the way to fully funding its commitment this year to KEDO, which is such an important part of our Framework Agreement. We are pledged to continue working for peaceful democratic change in Burma. We welcome the continued development of the ASEAN Regional Forum as a way for our two nations to work closely together on security issues. As the Minister said, we reaffirmed our intention to work through the APEC meeting in Manila this November and in the first WTO meeting in Singapore -- also this fall -- to forward our joint endeavors.
One thing that was a major focus of our discussion was our determination to complete a comprehensive test ban treaty for signing by September. We support the current treaty text -- the Ramaker text -- and I am very pleased that the United States and Australia are absolutely in sync on this and working hard together to try to bring that about and make it ready for signature in September. The Minister said we reached agreement on an agenda of specific steps to enhance our joint attack against drug trafficking, with our discussions covering such items as our common efforts on money laundering and organized crime as well.
I conclude by saying that I am very pleased to announce another important step in bringing Americans and Australians closer together: We will eliminate the visa requirement for Australian citizens traveling to the United States for up to 90 days for business or pleasure. Few countries around the world qualify for this visa waiver program under the strict requirements of U.S. law. I think it is very appropriate that Australia now is one of those countries that qualifies, as people of our two nations travel back and forth. We think this important step will greatly facilitate the travel of our citizens, and I know it will come as good news to Australians who are coming to the United States either for business or for tourism -- that they no longer need to get a visa if they are coming for 90 days or less.
Finally, I cannot conclude without thanking our Australian hosts for their extraordinary hospitality and for the great efforts they have made to make this one of the very best AUSMIN meetings that I have attended over the years. Thank you so much, Mr. Minister and Mr. Minister.
Good morning. From the defense point of view, I would just like to reiterate what Alexander Downer said earlier, and that is that the very high level of United States representation at this AUSMIN has enhanced it very much. Particularly, I would like to thank Secretary Perry for bringing with him General Shalikashvili, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Admiral Prueher, who is Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific, and also to say that I am particularly pleased with the joint statement on security, which shows that our two countries are firmly focused on the future and determined to make this alliance address mutual security concerns into the post-Cold War era. We made some important announcements yesterday about increasing defense exercises, so I won't go into that again; and also relating to the joint facilities, but it does show that this relationship is being enhanced, revitalized if you like, and we will continue as I said yesterday, to look at further opportunities on both sides to increase that cooperation.
Finally, I would just like to say that this close alliance with the U.S. supports our priorities -- Australian priorities -- for developing closer relations with Asia, and it also supports our defense self-reliance. These are three essential elements and they are mutually reinforcing elements. They are in no way mutually exclusive, and I want that clearly understood, because we certainly clearly understand it. I think that from the information we have been able to discern, our Asian neighbors are extremely comfortable with these arrangements. So with those few words, I would also just like to say that my first AUSMIN conference seemed to me to have been extremely successful, very relaxed, with great contributions from both sides, and I would like to ask Dr. Perry if he would like to say a few words.
The defense relationship between Australia and the United States is truly a model for the rest of the world. We have fought side-by-side in five wars to protect our values and to protect our freedom. But our defense relationship today is not about war. It is about peace. Today, we are partners in peace -- promoting stability and democracy in the Asia-Pacific region, and, indeed, around the world. Our alliance has never been stronger. Today, we work together on regional security, enhanced joint military training, intelligence cooperation, and technology sharing. The joint security declaration makes it quite clear that we intend to remain fully engaged and forward-deployed as an Asia-Pacific power. That is the keystone of our commitment to work with Australia in building a peaceful and prosperous future in the Pacific.
Last update: Tuesday, 23 February 2010 GMT+1100