13th Annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue

Nan­tong, Chi­na
The Sec­re­tary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt, and the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton, today attend­ed the 13th annu­al Aus­tralia-Chi­na Defence Strate­gic Dia­logue.

The Dia­logue was host­ed by Gen­er­al Chen Bingde, Chief of Gen­er­al Staff, People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army and held in Gen­er­al Chen’s home­town of Nan­tong, Jiang­su Province, China. 

Dr Watt said that the Dia­logue was an inte­gral com­po­nent of Australia’s Defence engage­ment with Chi­na, and pro­vid­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have frank and open con­ver­sa­tions and to exchange views on areas of com­mon interest. 

“Today’s Dia­logue facil­i­tat­ed con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tions on issues of mutu­al con­cern, deep­ened our per­son­al and senior lev­el ties and con­sol­i­dat­ed and built on our Defence engage­ment achieve­ments,” Dr Watt said. 

“I am encour­aged by the frank and pos­i­tive con­ver­sa­tions we had today and I am pleased we agreed fur­ther avenues to fos­ter coop­er­a­tion and engage­ment on issues of mutu­al concern.” 

Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton said the Dia­logue enhanced the Aus­tralia-Chi­na Defence rela­tion­ship and empha­sised the pos­i­tive tra­jec­to­ry of Defence coop­er­a­tion with China. 

“This Dia­logue is the cor­ner­stone of our Defence engage­ment. We agreed to under­take Defence activ­i­ties in a wide range of areas. These includ­ed mar­itime, engage­ment, human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief coop­er­a­tion, senior vis­its, per­son­nel exchanges and edu­ca­tion­al and pro­fes­sion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties, and peace­keep­ing coop­er­a­tion.” Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said. 

“While our inter­ests are often inter­twined and our expec­ta­tions of our expand­ing rela­tion­ship are high, we also face chal­lenges from time to time. 

“Our abil­i­ty to address these chal­lenges and dis­cuss issues in an open and trans­par­ent way is a sign of the grow­ing matu­ri­ty in our Defence engage­ment. We are com­mit­ted to work­ing with Chi­na to ensure a strong, sta­ble and pros­per­ous region,” Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said. 

Fol­low­ing the dia­logue, Dr Watt and Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton met the Vice Pres­i­dent and Deputy Chair­man of the Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sion Xi Jin­ping in Beijing. 

Dr Watt said “the meet­ing with Xi Jin­ping was an impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ty to affirm the strengths of the bilat­er­al rela­tion­ship and our mil­i­tary to mil­i­tary link.” Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said “We com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to devel­op our mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship and prac­ti­cal coop­er­a­tion together.” 

The Aus­tralian Ambas­sador to Chi­na Dr Geoff Raby attend­ed the Defence Strate­gic Dia­logue and meet­ing with Xi Jinping. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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