Pompeo, Esper join Australian counterparts to affirm mutual defense interests

The American and Australian officials met in Washington, D.C., for annual summit

Updated: July 28, 2020 - 2:50pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday personally thanked Australia leaders for supporting the countries' joint security interests, particularly toward China.  

“We applaud Australia for pushing back against” the Communist Chinese Party, Pompeo said at State Department headquarters, in Washington, D.C.

He was joined by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds.

The Australians are in the nation's capital for a summit of the ongoing Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN). 

The officials from both nations expressed appreciation for an alliance that dates to World War I.

“More than a century since we first fought side-by-side, 80 years after the United States and Australia established diplomatic relations, and 68 years since the formation of our Alliance, our shared commitment to freedom and democracy remains unbreakable,” Reynolds said in a statement.

The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) was high on the agenda for discussion, the leaders said.

"The Secretaries and Ministers called on the PRC to be transparent and to negotiate in good faith with the United States and Russia on limitations on nuclear weapons as well as measures to reduce risk and build confidence," Reynolds also said. "They recalled obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear disarmament."

The United States especially values this week’s meeting in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Esper, who noted that the visitors embarked on a long journey to attend, and face a 14-day quarantine when they return home.

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