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Opening Remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles

DEFENCE MINISTER RICHARD MARLES: So welcome, everyone, here this morning. And can I welcome my good friend, Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America. It is an enormous privilege to have you here this morning, Lloyd.

Since coming to office over the last 48 months, Lloyd and I were reflecting last night that we've met on numerous occasions in different parts of the world, and during that period of time, we've become really good friends and I think that is emblematic of the state of the relationship between our two nations. But it is an honor for me to be able to host Lloyd here today because this is the first time that we will have met in Australia. So it is fantastic to have you here.

In meeting today, as part of the Defense Ministers Meeting in the late -- as part of an -- AUSMIN tomorrow, I would reflect that we last met in -- in Washington in December, and at that meeting, we agreed on a number of force posture initiatives, a number of increased engagements of the United States in Australia, and since then, they have happened.

The additions to what we see with the Marine rotation in Darwin, the fantastic presence of the United States at Exercise Talisman Sabre, which is happening as we speak and which Lloyd and I will be able to watch on Sunday, that speaks to the fact that our relationship is going from strength to strength but it also speaks to the fact that what we agree that we will do, we end up doing. And again, that says a lot about the state of our friendship.

This meeting today happens as the first AUSMIN after the government released the Defense Strategic Review and the government's response to it, and we look forward to discussing ways in which Australia and America can work together, which will enhance and take forward the priorities of the Australian government in respect of the Defense Strategic Review.

It's also the first time that we will be meeting since announcing the optimal pathway, by which Australia will acquire a nuclear submarine capability under the banner of AUKUS. And no doubt we will talk about the progress of that program, which is clearly critically important to Australia's future defense capability.

As we meet today, we do so in a world which is complex, which, in many respects, is volatile, and which, in many respects, is threatening. We see the global rules-based order under threat in Eastern Europe and we see it under pressure in the Indo-Pacific.

The way forward in respect of all of that is not obvious but one thing is really clear -- now is the time to be working closely with friends, and Australia has no better friend than the United States of America. The alliance between our two countries is at the heart of Australia's national security and our world view, and we look really forward to progressing that relationship over the course of the next two days.


SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III: Well, Deputy Prime Minister Marles, thanks for hosting me here in Brisbane. It is indeed great to be here. And thanks for sharing your troops with me this morning. They look great, the band sounds great. And a special thanks for this unbelievable weather that you have here today. I'm impressed with the way that you've been able to arrange the weather.


I look forward to our conversation today, along with our discussions tomorrow at AUSMINS with Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Wong. Together, we're making important steps to deepen our unbreakable alliance. Our two proud democracies share core values and a long history of working together to defend the rules-based international order.

Today, our cooperation is key. It's key to our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific in a world of rules and rights. We seek a region where all countries are secure and prosperous, where states follow international law and international norms, and where disputes are resolved peacefully without coercion.

And I know that both of our countries are concerned about attempts by the People's Republic of China to depart from these principles. We've seen troubling PRC coercion from the East China Sea to the South China Sea, to right here in the Southwest Pacific, and we'll continue to support our allies and partners as they defend themselves from bullying behavior.

Now, our two countries have worked tirelessly together with our like-minded allies and partners to help Ukraine fight for its freedom throughout Russia's reckless war of choice, and we will continue to work together for a world where autocrats can't invade their peaceful neighbors with impunity.

So I look forward to discussing many key issues today, including our respective defense strategies, our ground-baking -- ground-breaking force posture initiatives and our efforts to integrate Japan into them, and our multilateral cooperation, including AUKUS and the Quad, and our support for Australia's Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordinance enterprise.

I'm delighted to be here to underscore our shared commitment to support each other and to strengthen our mutual security. So Richard, thanks again for your incredible hospitality, your friendship, and your unflagging support for our common goals. Our alliance is stronger because of all that you do. And so thanks for your leadership. I look forward to a great conversation. Thanks.

MIN. MARLES: Thank you. Fantastic.

Q:  Secretary Austin, do you have a message to Republicans in Congress who are trying to slow down funding for AUKUS?

STAFF: Thanks guys, that’s all.