Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds will travel to Washington for the Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2020 session, the two announced Saturday (25 July). AUSMIN has long served as the annual, principal forum for Australia-US cooperation on strategic, foreign and defence policy.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne. (PHOTO: Government)

“This 30th AUSMIN meeting comes at a critical time, amid significant strategic challenges, and a global pandemic with far-reaching social and economic impacts. Our relationship is built on our shared values, and a shared understanding of the importance of maintaining presence and leadership in our region,” the ministers said in a statement announcing the trip. “In the face of an increasingly complex and contested regional environment, it is vital we continue working together across the breadth of our relationship. Discussions at AUSMIN 2020 will centre on our shared efforts towards a stable, resilient, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific, particularly in the context of the impact of COVID-19. We will focus on how both our nations can best work together to respond to immense health, economic and security challenges.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds. (PHOTO: Government)

“We will continue to make progress on our priorities, including investing in infrastructure in the region, countering disinformation, standing up for human rights, and strengthening science and technology cooperation. We will also discuss deepening defence cooperation in alignment with Australia’s Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan. Our alliance with the United States is at the core of Australia’s defence and security planning, and we look forward to progressing cooperation across the defence relationship, including on regional activities, defence industry and force posture. We deeply value our close people-to-people links and our strong trade and investment relationship.”

The United States remains by far Australia’s largest source of foreign investment, with two-way investment reaching A$1.8 trillion last year.

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