Secretary Tillerson Reaffirms Strong Ties to Australia and New Zealand

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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seated at a table flanked by U.S. Charge d'Affairs James Carouso and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis at Australia–U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, flanked by U.S. Charge d'Affairs James Carouso and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, attend Australia–U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) on June 5, 2017.

Secretary Tillerson Reaffirms Strong Ties to Australia and New Zealand

On June 5, U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson traveled to Sydney, Australia with Secretary of Defense James Mattis to participate in the 2017 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN). The Secretary then traveled to New Zealand to discuss shared strategic interests and reaffirm our strong ties with high-level government officials. Throughout his trip, Secretary Tillerson and counterparts discussed the full range of bilateral, regional, and global issues, including peace and security, shared economic growth, and supporting democracy and the rule of law.

After meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne, Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis underscored our mutual commitment to ongoing peace and security efforts. In his remarks, Secretary Tillerson noted “our shared values of freedom, democracy, a rules-based order, are long bonds that have been formed in the sacrifices that we have made together over the past century through two world wars, and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in upholding these values of freedom and democracy and a rules-based order evident today in our joint efforts in this fight against terrorism.”

In a statement at AUSMIN, Secretary Tillerson also highlighted how both nations seek to continue their partnership as it related to economic growth and investment. He said, “we also share with Australia a keen interest in ensuring our economic policies advance prosperity at home as well as abroad. Australian companies employ almost 100,000 Americans, and American companies in Australia employ about 335,000 Australians. Good trade policies mean good jobs for both of our peoples.”

During his stop in New Zealand, Secretary Tillerson emphasized the strong partnership that exists between the two nations, which has dated back to World War II. Secretary Tillerson specifically noted his deep appreciation of New Zealand’s troops in the Middle East, stating “this really important role they’re playing to train security forces. As we liberate areas from – that have been under ISIS control, the first actions is to secure the area, so that the local citizens feel safe about returning to their homes and beginning the long process of rebuilding not just their towns but also their lives.” He underscored the value of well-trained security forces in the ongoing counterterrorism and stabilization efforts.

During each stop of this visit, Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed that the United States and these two partners “will work together to support democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, and that includes defending the rules-based order which the Asia Pacific region depends upon.

Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.

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