Australian defence and foreign minister meet US counterparts for annual AUSMIN dialogue

Australian defence and foreign minister meet US counterparts for annual AUSMIN dialogue

US Secretaries of Defence and State James Mattis and Mike Pompeo will host their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Julie

U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis walks with Australia’s Minister for Defence Marise Payne during an inspection of an honour guard at the Australian Army’s Victoria in Sydney

Photo: Reuters/David Gray

US Secretaries of Defence and State James Mattis and Mike Pompeo will host their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Julie Bishop today in California for the annual AUSMIN foreign and defence dialogue.

The dialogue will celebrate a century of defence cooperation between Australia and the US, while this year’s edition of AUSMIN is expected to focus on issues of the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, North Korea, rising Chinese military activity in the South China Sea and the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are all expected to be discussed in detail.

Indeed, Chinese issues, including a mutual concern over surging Chinese investment in Australia and the US are set to be discussed extensively. It comes as Australia seeks to manage a delicate balancing act, which involves exercising growing strategic caution towards China whilst also seeking to boost exports and gain greater market exposure. The talks are expected to see Australia continue balancing this reality, seeking to avoid US criticism for its involvement in RCEP and its position opposing trade tensions with China.

Australian participation in China-led initiatives such as RCEP has drawn increased criticism from the US. This is likely to cause further strains on Australia’s balancing act. Growing economic interdependence between Australia and China is likely to be brought up by the US as part of broader discussions on deepening funding and development of new military infrastructure and technologies.

Delve Deeper: 2018 Geopolitical Forecast – Asia Pacific

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