Australia and the United States have signed an agreement to reinforce cooperation on deployment of US Marines for training in Australia's North Territory, according to the AUSMIN 2013 Joint Communique from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Thursday.
Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations 2013 (AUSMIN), attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Australian Defence Minister David Johnston, is the premier forum for Australia-US strategic talks. And this was the first for the new Abbott government, with both sides reaffirming the strengthening of the relationship.
According to the Joint Communique, the Australian government confirmed that the US-Australia alliance is strong, vibrant, and enduring, forming the core of a close and dynamic partnership and the Alliance remains an anchor of peace and stability in the Asia- Pacific region and beyond.
"The breadth and depth of this unshakeable partnership is a reflection of more than six decades of trust, respect, and friendship," the communique said.
The Joint communique confirmed that Australia and the United States agreed to commence negotiations on a binding agreement to support future defense cooperation involving the US rotational presence in northern Australia, including activities such as joint and combined training, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and combined exercises in Australia and multilateral engagement in the broader region.
And the United States and Australia also agreed to work towards full implementation of the US force posture initiatives involving rotational US Marine Corps deployments and increased rotations of US Air Force aircraft in northern Australia, including substantial progress towards rotations of a full Marine Air Ground Task Force of around 2,500 US Marine Corps personnel and equipment.
They also agreed to continue examining opportunities for future naval cooperation in Australia.
In addition, The communique touched on a broad range of security issues between Australia and the United States, including arrangements of space surveillance telescope to Western Australia, cyber security, cooperation on ballistic missile defense, global and regional maritime security and so on.