US-Australia alliance talks

Friday, September 16, 2011
On the 60th anniversary of the the United States-Australia alliance, the two countries "reaffirmed" shared security and financial ties as part of Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) in September.

Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd and Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke jointly (transcript and video) about the alliance and the strengthened commitment the two countries have made to each other, and they released a joint communique outlining shared security obligations throughout the Asia-Pacific region as well as the rest of the world on multiple issues, including traditional military and diplomatic means as well as satellites and cyber defence. Australia and the United States also promised joint aid packages, including water and sanitation projects in Indonesia.

The two countries confirmed their military alliance extended to defence against cyber attacks, issuing a joint statement on the specific issue, stating "in the event of a cyber attack that threatens the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either of our nations, Australia and the United States would consult together and determine appropriate options to address the threat."

Australia Defence Minister Stephen Smith elaborated in a press release: "We need to make the most of the exciting opportunities opened up by cyberspace, but we also need to address associated challenges in an informed and determined way."

US State officials provided background on the importance of AUSMIN, the alliance between Australia and the United States, and more of the issues that were talked about. One official said: "Virtually every subject – the mutual desire to engage India as a Pacific partner, the increasingly important role of Indonesia, the desire to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, to work together on a broad range of issues – I think all reflects the fact that not only does the U.S.-Australian relationship punch far beyond and above its weight, we are working together in a global context now that reflects the fact that the United States and Australia really appreciate and understand the stake that we have in a variety of areas."

The 26th AUSMIN was held in San Fransisco, USA, on 15 September. This year's meeting was 60 years after representatives from the USA and Australia signed the Australia-New Zealand-United States Security Treaty (ANZUS), on 1 September, 1961, also in San Francisco.