GEN Ma Visit to Australia - 14th Annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue
11 November 2011
The Secretary of Defence, Mr Duncan Lewis, and Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, met with General Ma Xiaotian, Deputy Chief of General Staff, People’s Liberation Army in Canberra this week. The meeting was followed by a roundtable with senior military and civilian leaders in Defence.
"China is a very important partner for Australia in the region. Our Defence relationship is a key component of our broader bilateral relationship."
"The cooperation, dialogue and communication between our two Defence organisations plays an important role in ensuring our relationship continues with a long-term, constructive outlook," Mr Lewis said.
Air Marshal Binskin said Australia was committed to developing strong and positive defence relations with China through dialogue and practical activities.
"General Ma’s visit was a valuable opportunity to deepen our personal and senior level ties and build on our Defence engagement achievements," Air Marshal Binskin said.
"This roundtable facilitated constructive and frank conversations on regional strategic and security issues.
"I value these opportunities to discuss issues of mutual concern," Mr Lewis said
During the visit, General Ma also co-chaired the 14th annual Australia-China Defence Strategic Dialogue with the Vice Chief of the Defence Force and Deputy Secretary Strategy, Mr Peter Jennings at HMAS Watson in Sydney.
General Ma also visited RAAF Williamtown to view a static display of Australia’s F/A 18F Super Hornet and Wedgetail Airborne Early and Control.
A plan for enhancing Defence engagement over the next two years was agreed at the Dialogue and demonstrates Australia and China’s joint commitment to further develop our defence relationship.
"We committed to developing further the relationship between our two militaries, including in the areas of: maritime security; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief cooperation; peacekeeping exchanges, senior-level dialogue and professional and working level exchanges," Mr Jennings said.
Mr Jennings welcomed the frank and positive discussions held with General Ma during his visit.
"I am particularly pleased that we agreed to further areas for Defence engagement and cooperation," Mr Jennings said.
Last year 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, and attended by the former Secretary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt, and former Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston.
Mr Lewis said he looked forward to visiting China with General David Hurley, Chief of the Defence Force, in 2012 to co-host the 15th annual Dialogue.
Media Note: imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=111...
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999