Australia’s defense, foreign minister seeks to strengthen ties

Yesterday, Australian Defense Minister Richard Mars said he was visiting European partner countries this week and aimed to deepen defense ties with France, Germany and the United Kingdom, while Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said: , said it would travel to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Timor-Leste to strengthen ties in the Pacific amid China’s growing influence.

Marul’s visit between today and Thursday will be his first since the Australian Labor Party won the general election in May.

The government said France’s suspension would help “restore and renew” bilateral relations, calling France one of Australia’s “oldest and most capable partners”.

Photo: Reuters

Australia agreed in June to settle a €555 million ($553.1 million at current exchange rate) settlement with French military shipbuilder Naval Group over the scrapping of last year’s multi-billion dollar submarine deal. Reached.

Canberra hoped the settlement would help mend the rift after the previous government scrapped an agreement with the United States and Britain in favor of building nuclear submarines under a new alliance called AUKUS.

During this week’s visit, Maruls will also participate in a roundtable discussion with German defense industry representatives and visit a shipyard in the UK, the government said.

“Our relationship with the UK is historic and mutually beneficial and is reflected in our continued commitment to AUKUS,” said Marles.

“My visit to Europe comes at a time when the war in Ukraine has shown the importance of stepping up cooperation with like-minded partners in both Europe and the Indo-Pacific,” he said. said.

In June, Mares visited Japan to promote defense cooperation to counter China’s growing military influence in Asia.

Also yesterday, Wong said he will be traveling to PNG and East Timor this week.

Australia has moved to strengthen ties in the region amid China’s growing influence, including a security deal between China and the Solomon Islands in April.

Wong said he plans to meet with PNG Foreign Minister Justin Tkachenko, recently re-elected PNG Prime Minister James Marape and members of the new cabinet.

Wong is scheduled to travel to Timor-Leste on Wednesday to meet with high-ranking officials, including East Timor’s President Jose Ramos-Horta, Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Adalgiza Magno.

She said she would discuss issues such as Australia’s support for Timor-Leste’s economic development and bids for ASEAN and WTO membership.

“Australia is committed to working with both Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste for the benefit of a stable, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Wong said.

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