On September 15, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta joined their Australian counterparts, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defense Minister Stephen Smith, to celebrate 60 years of the U.S.-Australia Alliance in San Francisco, California.
Secretary Clinton said, "We have come to San Francisco to celebrate 60 years of the U.S.-Australia alliance in the place where it was born. Here at the Presidio Golden Gate Club back in 1951, in the month of September, our predecessors signed the treaty that cemented the ties between our nations. Today, we reflect on that history, celebrate the vision of those who brought our alliance to life, and chart a common path forward together. And as we announced earlier this week, President Obama will be visiting Australia in November to commemorate this important milestone and to advance our alliance.
"For 60 years now, each new global challenge has brought with it a new cause for cooperation with Australia and an ever stronger partnership grounded in our shared values. And that is exactly what happened 10 years ago. When America was attacked on September 11th, just days after the 50th anniversary of our alliance, Australia invoked the treaty to come to our defense.
"In the decade since, Australia's men and women have fought alongside our own, just as they have in every major conflict since the First World War. In Afghanistan, Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to our mission. In Libya, Australia now provides 10 percent of the international humanitarian budget. So from cyberspace to food security, Australia makes vital contributions to global security, stability, and well-being. And we greatly appreciate their efforts.
"As Pacific powers, the United States and Australia are committed to working together to seize the opportunities of a fast-changing Asia-Pacific region. Our alliance has provided a context for the region's dynamic economic growth by underwriting peace and security and promoting trade and prosperity. The detailed joint communique we are releasing today reflects the full range of our shared interests, values, and vision from maritime cooperation to joint development projects to building stronger ties with India to promote democracy and prosperity in the Pacific Islands.
"We are working to encourage trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and through APEC, whose leaders the President will be hosting this fall in Hawaii. Together, we are strengthening regional institutions like the East Asia Summit and ASEAN. And as Secretary Panetta will explain, our military relationship is deepening and becoming even more consequential.
"One country of particular shared concern is Burma. In recent weeks, we have seen some welcome gestures from Burma's Government. It's important for us and for others to try to understand better what is unfolding in Burma today. Our new special representative and policy coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, has just returned from his first visit to the country, one that included productive meetings with both the government and Aung San Suu Kyi.
"Frankly, we have serious question and concerns across a wide range of issues, from Burma's treatment of ethnic minorities and more than 2,000 prisoners to its relations with North Korea. Still, we welcome the fact that the Burmese Government has launched a dialogue with Aung Sun Suu Kyi and begun to speak of the need for important reforms. But just yesterday, Burma added 10 years to a prison sentence of a 21-year-old journalist. So I would urge the Burmese Government to follow its words and commitments with concrete actions that lead to genuine reform, national reconciliation, and respect for human rights.
"The ties between our nations are as close as any in the world. Our peoples and our governments overwhelmingly support our partnership. And although Australians have taken over the Oscars, the Tour de France, and now the U.S. Open, our affection for your country remains undiminished. The communique we have produced today is forward-looking and action-oriented, and it reflects our confidence in this alliance and in what our two countries can and will accomplish together.
"So today we celebrate 60 years of a strong, steady alliance. We honor those who fought and sacrificed to sustain it, and we recommit ourselves to continue to work closely together as allies and friends to make good on its full promise for many years to come."
You can read a complete transcript of the event here.