Australia will host top UK officials to discuss the challenges and opportunities for both nations to support an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region as part of the first face-to-face 2+2 ministerial meeting to take place since the start of the pandemic.
Forieign minster Marise Payne and defence minister Peter Dutton met with their UK counterparts on Friday. The UK’s secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs Elizabeth Truss and secretary of state for defence Ben Wallace travelled to Australia for the in-person meeting.
In a joint statement, the ministers said that the agenda would focus on maintaining the international rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region and globally. Both nations were committed to ensuring stability and prosperity for the region where the sovereignty of all nations was respected, they added.
“The international environment is becoming more complex and challenging,” Payne said.
“AUKMIN 2022 will consider ways to strengthen our partnership in order to meet new and emerging threats and seize the many opportunities that this era presents.”
Dutton said that both the Australian and UK defence forces were underpinned by ‘close personal links’ and that AUKMIN discussions would explore ways to collaborate in defence capability, cyber security, critical technology, deterrence and sustainable investment in infrastructure.
“Australia and the United Kingdom share a common commitment to upholding the rules-based global order and I look forward to discussing how we can work together in support of a safe and secure Indo-Pacific region,” the defence minister said.
In their joint statement, Payne and Dutton said the meeting was also a chance for Australia and the UK to reaffirm a commitment to protecting the core principles of the multilateral system, including the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality.
Improving outcomes & achieving equality for women & girls at home & around the world, is a priority for Australia. Today, I joined @TrussLiz for a Women’s Security Roundtable to discuss with Australian leaders the issues & responses on security challenges women face. pic.twitter.com/lFZcbZcNLw
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) January 20, 2022