15th annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue
14 December 2012
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, and Deputy Secretary Strategy Brendan Sargeant, met with General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the General Staff Department, People’s Liberation Army, in China this week for the 15th annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue.
“China is an important partner for Australia in the region, and we share a positive and constructive defence relationship,” General Hurley said.
“The cooperation, dialogue and communication between our two militaries play an important role in deepening our engagement. We are committed to building strong and positive defence relations to enhance mutual understanding and facilitate trust and stability throughout the region.”
During the dialogue both countries highlighted the success of key defence activities conducted this year in the spirit of the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
HMAS Ballarat conducted a port visit to China in May and Australia looks forward to next week when three People’s Liberation Army-Navy ships will visit Australia on return from counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
In October, Australia hosted the People’s Liberation Army and the New Zealand Defence Force for a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise, Cooperation Spirit.
Australia has conducted the Defence Strategic Dialogue with China for 15 years, an indication of the value and importance placed on bilateral defence engagement.
“Our discussions included a comprehensive exchange of views on issues of mutual interest, including regional security,” Mr Sargeant said.
“We also discussed a number of new initiatives to enhance our defence relationship, including in the areas of strategic dialogue, maritime engagement, working-level activities and academic exchanges.”
General Hurley said Australia looked forward to hosting the 16th annual Defence Strategic Dialogue in 2013.