Foreign and Defense Secretaries visit Australia for AUKMIN

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will visit Australia this week as the UK strengthens its defense and security ties with the country.

Truss begins the first leg of an official visit to Australia today, using his trip to focus on economic, security and technological interests as well as to stand up against malicious attackers.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will join the Foreign Secretary in Sydney for talks with their counterparts, Foreign Secretary Marise Payne and Defense Minister Peter Dutton.

At the first AUKMIN since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, ministers will discuss security and defense capabilities, building on AUKUS, and commit to countering state and hybrid threats and jointly supporting the maritime security.

The visit comes in the face of growing aggression from Russia, which is working to destabilize and threaten its sovereign neighbor Ukraine, and growing threats in the Indo-Pacific. It also comes on crucial days for the Tonga relief effort, as the UK works urgently with counterparts in Australia and New Zealand to support those affected.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

As malevolent forces threaten global peace and stability, it is vital that close allies like the UK and Australia show heightened vigilance in defending freedom and democracy.

The AUKUS partnership between the UK, Australia and the US is a clear demonstration of how we will uphold our values, protect trade routes and increase stability in the Indo-Pacific.

In Australia, I will strengthen our economic, diplomatic and security ties – making our country safer and more competitive – in order to win the battle of ideas within our freedom network.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said:

The UK and Australia share one of the oldest and strongest defense and security alliances.

Operating and exercising side by side, we continue to work together to promote stability and tackle our common threats head-on with our like-minded ally.

Truss will also agree to closer cooperation with Australia to increase opportunities for honest and trustworthy infrastructure investments in Indo-Pacific states – to end strategic reliance on malicious actors in the fields of energy, investment and technology.

And on technology, the Foreign Secretary will discuss how best to strengthen global technology supply chains and tackle malicious actors disrupting cyberspace.

On the second leg of the visit, the Foreign Secretary will travel to Adelaide to build on the recently signed Free Trade Agreement, including signing an agreement to strengthen trade ties between the UK and Australia for key industries including space, cyber, science and technology with the state of South Australia. This is part of the UK’s efforts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Truss will also visit the BAE Systems shipyard to see how British commercial expertise is responsible for building frigates for the Australian Navy.

ENDS

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