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AUSMIN 2012 Joint Communiqué

14 November 2012

We met today in the city of Perth—Australia's Indian Ocean capital—to reaffirm the value of the Australia-US Alliance in helping to shape the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific, while also contributing to global security, good governance and the rule of law. Our commitment to the region and its future remains enduring and steadfast. Here on the shores of the Indian Ocean, we have committed to continued cooperation on security matters throughout the Asia Pacific, including through consolidating progress in the force posture initiatives announced by Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama in November 2011. Our bilateral cooperation, including on trade and investment, international development, education, science and technology, and cultural ties, is deep and continues to expand, reflecting the dynamism and energy of our two countries.

Over the past year, we have both reaffirmed in various ways the importance of our engagement in the Asia Pacific. The Australia in the Asian Century White Paper released on 28 October charts a course for even deeper Australian regional engagement. President Obama reinforced a broad US commitment to the region in his announcement in Canberra last November as part of a rebalance to the Asia Pacific.

This year, we celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the ANZUS Treaty's entry into force. Our Alliance plays a vital role in promoting regional and global security, while advancing each country's defence and security interests. Earlier this morning, as we laid wreaths at the King's Park Cenotaph, we reflected on the enduring strength of our Alliance and on those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country.

We look forward to working together on the United Nations Security Council during Australia's term in 2013-14, noting the value of the experience, expertise and regional perspectives Australia will bring to the Council.

Recognising the importance of regular high-level consultations on foreign and strategic policy, we decided to hold regular senior officials' level talks on East Asia, the Pacific, and counter-proliferation. These talks are to inform AUSMIN discussions.

In our talks today, we highlighted the following priorities:

1. Protect and promote Asia Pacific security

This dynamic region is increasingly the driver of the global economy, and the region's security remains central to global security and prosperity. We discussed the progress of the US rebalance toward the region. We underscored the vital roles played by Japan, the Republic of Korea and the members of ASEAN in forging a strong and resilient region. We welcomed a strong, prosperous and peaceful China, which plays a constructive role in promoting regional security and prosperity. We recognised the growing importance of India in the region and the Indian Ocean's importance to trade, maritime security, and strategic and defence planning. We welcomed Myanmar/Burma's ongoing democratic and economic reform process, which is of great significance for the region. We reaffirmed that we do not take a position on competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. 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 reaffirmed that we do not take a position on competing claims for sovereignty in the East China Sea and urged that the issue be resolved through peaceful means, free from any form of coercion or aggression. We reaffirmed our commitment to work together, and with the governments and peoples of Pacific Island countries, to promote growth, sustainable development, respect for human rights, good governance and security.

We affirmed our intent to:

2. Support regional dialogue

We underscored the importance of regional institutions in promoting peace, stability and security, encouraging economic integration and development and protecting human rights. We noted the significant challenges these institutions could help address, including in areas such as health, education, natural disasters, energy security, the environment and maritime security.

We affirmed our intent to:

We reaffirmed our support for economic institutions that foster growth and market openness, and deepen economic integration in the Asia Pacific and globally.

We reaffirmed our intent to:

3. Advance global security

We reiterated our continued commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan that is not a safe haven for international terrorists. We acknowledged the achievements and paid tribute to the sacrifices of Australian and US military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan. We reiterated our commitment to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) transition strategy which was agreed in Lisbon and reaffirmed at the ISAF/NATO Leaders' Summit in Chicago in May. We also confirmed our commitment to a post-2014 mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and recognised that an appropriate funding mechanism to sustain the ANSF into the future is critical. We acknowledged the important contribution Pakistan can make to a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan and to stability in South Asia.

We concurred that the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and would be highly destabilising to regional peace and security. We shared concern over Iran's financial and military support for the Assad regime in Syria as well as the serious human rights violations in Iran. We underlined the importance of continuing close cooperation on efforts to reduce the threats posed to global security by the proliferation of WMD. We highlighted the impressive counter-terrorism successes by Southeast Asian nations in challenging dangerous terror networks, and remain committed to cooperating closely with regional partners on bilateral and international counter-terrorism strategies. We underscored our commitment to completing the negotiation at the United Nations of a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty that recognises that the international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity and holds all countries to standards that will improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them.

We are appalled by the violence and humanitarian situation in Syria, and are deeply concerned at the impact of the conflict on broader regional stability. We are also deeply concerned by continued reports of war crimes and gross violations of international human rights by all parties to the conflict in Syria. We stressed that the Assad regime in Syria would be held accountable by the international community if it were to make the tragic mistake of using chemical weapons.

We decided to intensify cooperation to meet emerging security challenges in space and cyberspace. We reflected on the importance of space-enabled systems and cyberspace to our economies, societies and national security, and affirmed our common interest in ensuring the safety, stability, sustainability and security of space and cyberspace.

We noted the impact of rising energy consumption in Asia on regional and global energy security, which is vital to continued economic growth. Energy supply security, including from renewables and gas, will help deliver continued prosperity and regional stability.

We affirmed our intent to:

4. Promote global development

We emphasised our shared commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as reflected in the USAID-AusAID Memorandum of Understanding on International Development Cooperation. We acknowledged the progress made in achieving the fundamental goal of reducing extreme poverty globally by half, but recognised that further global commitment is needed.

We recognised the challenges and opportunities of reform in Myanmar/Burma, and are working closely to encourage human development in that country and to resolve the status of stateless people. We reaffirmed our commitment to development in Afghanistan. Underscoring the centrality of gender equality to political, economic, social and human development, we reiterated our support for the empowerment of women and girls.

We continue to engage with traditional donors to address key country-specific, regional and global development challenges.

We affirmed our intent to:

5. Enhance our bilateral defence cooperation

We emphasised that the Australia-US Alliance continues to play a vital role in shaping the security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific and to deliver real benefits to each country's defence and national security. The Alliance is above all about practical cooperation and collaboration, whether through training and exercises, combined operations or intelligence sharing.

We discussed progress in implementing the US force posture initiatives in Australia announced by Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama in 2011. We welcomed the success of the first rotation of US Marine Corps personnel to northern Australia, and looked forward to the next rotation in 2013. We discussed our enhanced aircraft cooperation, which is expected to result in increased rotations of US aircraft through northern Australia.

This deepening of our defence cooperation through these initiatives is a natural evolution of our existing, long-standing cooperation and is aimed at supporting long-term peace and stability in the Asia Pacific. These initiatives will improve Australian and US military capabilities through combined training and exercises, enhance our ability to respond to regional challenges, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and provide a means of strengthening our cooperation with other regional partners.

We also discussed potential opportunities for additional naval cooperation at a range of locations, including HMAS Stirling. All of these possible areas of cooperation would require substantial further study and additional decisions by both capitals.

We also welcomed a range of initiatives that will strengthen our practical cooperation in other areas.

We recognised the need to address the rising threat presented by increasing congestion in space from over 50 years of space activities and a significant rise in space debris. In particular, we need to ensure our continued access to space assets for services critical to the functioning of modern economies, as well as for national security purposes.

In response, we have brought forward a new and important element of this cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the relocation and establishment of a jointly-operated US C-Band space surveillance radar at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station in Western Australia. We have also decided to work towards the relocation of a highly advanced US Space Surveillance Telescope to Australia.

The relocation of these capabilities will strengthen the US global Space Surveillance Network's ability to track space assets and debris, and contribute to the global public good by making this information publically available and providing satellite operators around the world with warnings of possible collisions between space objects, thereby reducing the danger posed by space debris.

The relocation and joint operation of these assets is a demonstration of our commitment to closer space cooperation, and builds upon the Space Situational Awareness Partnership established between Australia and the United States at AUSMIN in 2010.

We affirmed our commitment to strengthening our capacity to contribute to integrated civil-military operations, recognising the increasing complexity of the kinds of contingencies that we continue to face together and with other partners. Such investment in bilateral preparedness reinforces our combined capacity to respond effectively with other partners to disasters, humanitarian emergencies and fragile and conflict-affected states across the Asia Pacific and globally.

We affirmed our intent to:

AUSMIN 2013

The United States offered to host the next AUSMIN meeting in 2013.