U.S. and Australia: Supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific

Four people standing behind lecterns (DoD/Marvin Lynchard)
At a July 28 summit in Washington, U.S. officials commended Australian leaders for standing strong against the Chinese Communist Party's malign behavior in the Indo-Pacific. (DoD/Marvin Lynchard)

The U.S. and Australia are strengthening their “unbreakable alliance” to defend freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

At the 30th annual Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultation Summit on July 28 in Washington, U.S. and Australian officials renewed their commitment to protecting shared values and countering the Chinese Communist Party’s malign behavior.

“The burden Australia has undertaken to uphold democratic values is not yours to bear alone,” U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said. “The United States knows the threats that you and the rest of the free world face. And the United States stands with you.”

Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper hosted their Australian counterparts — Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds — at the summit.

Payne described the U.S.-Australian partnership as “built on our resolute belief in the rule of law, a respect for human rights, our promotion of gender equality, [and] our protection of freedoms of religion and belief.”

Pompeo commended Australian leaders for standing up to the CCP’s recent threats to international norms and the rule of law.

Australia has banned untrustworthy Chinese fifth-generation wireless firms, such as Huawei and ZTE, from its 5G networks, stood up to CCP attacks on democracy in Hong Kong and publicly condemned the CCP’s disinformation campaign on the origin of the COVID-19 virus.

The four officials pledged continued cooperation on defense and industrial technologies, and on ensuring the security of the Indo-Pacific region. They also announced a new joint working group to monitor and respond to CCP disinformation.

The renewed defense commitment comes as the CCP continues to pressure nations to partner with untrustworthy Chinese 5G firms and bully countries in the South China Sea.

Esper said July 21 that the U.S. is strengthening partnerships throughout the Indo-Pacific region to protect shared values. He told the summit that the U.S.-Australian alliance is vital to stability, security and prosperity around the world.

“Together we share a common vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific where all nations, big and small, can enjoy the benefits of sovereignty … where states adhere to international rules and norms, and where international disputes are resolved peacefully,” Esper said.