Authorities from the United States and Australia had a key meeting to unify criteria in their political and strategic actions to confront the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
At a key meeting between U.S. and Australian authorities, attended by on the side of the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and for the Australians Defense Minister Lynda Reynolds and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, agreed, among other things, to expand military coordination as tensions with the CCP continue to escalate, presenting a common front among allies.
The two sides agreed to accuse the CCP of violating international norms in the South China Sea and pledged to defend freedom of navigation and the rule of law and democratic freedoms in Hong Kong.
“The United States knows the threats that you and the rest of the free world face. And the United States stands with you in our unbreakable alliance,” Pompeo told the Australian ministers during a joint news conference.
Pompeo unified and summarized U.S. and Australian concerns on two immediate issues. One is the CCP Virus, and the other is the “ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party,” particularly its “evil activity in the Indo-Pacific region and, indeed, around the world.”
Pompeo congratulated Australia for suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, something the Trump administration is also pursuing as the CCP moves to impose restrictions on dissidents in the former British territory. He also criticized the regime for using pressure/extortion as a mechanism to prevent Australia from taking such actions by threatening to cut off exports from the country.
Payne said Australia would work to hold all states that violate the rule of law accountable and support allies in fighting “China’s erosion of freedom in Hong Kong.” “We will step up and ensure that we support our mates,” she said.
Payne said the United States and the CCP established a working group to combat Chinese Communist Party misinformation on the CCP Virus and other issues.
Esper praised the participation of five Australian warships, which last week acted in military exercises along with a U.S. carrier strike group and a Japanese destroyer in the Philippine Sea, as reported by various media outlets.
“These exercises not only bolster interoperability, but also send a clear signal to Beijing that we will fly, we will sail, and we will operate wherever international law allows and defend the rights of our allies and partners to do the same,” Esper said.
Payne, Reynolds, and their delegation met with Pompeo and Esper at the State Department. Because of the risks of contagion from the CCP Virus, they announced that they will undergo a voluntary quarantine upon their return to Australia.