The US Foreign and Defense Ministers (two on the right) and their Australian counterparts in Washington, September 16 – Photo: REUTERS
Within the framework of the 31st Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations between the United States and Australia (AUSMIN 2021), Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and Defense Minister Lloyd Austin of the United States received Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Minister of National Defense of the United States. Australia’s Peter Dutton Room in Washington.
According to Reuters, the two countries issued a joint statement expressing concern about China’s potentially expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and expressed their intention to strengthen ties with Taiwan. Loan.
The joint statement also criticized China’s enactment of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, weakening the electoral system and stifling media freedom. The statement also expressed the “extreme concern” of the two countries about what they called China’s “campaign against the Uighurs”.
The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in the western region of Xinjiang.
On September 17, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra (Australia) said it denied the “baseless accusations” against China of AUSMIN 2021.
“This move to put pressure on China will have no effect and is just a staged farce,” said a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.
“We resolutely oppose and reject the unreasonable accusations and baseless comments against China on issues related to the South China Sea, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other issues related to the South China Sea. China”.
After the meeting in Washington on September 16, the US and Australia announced the expansion of military cooperation, including the rotational deployment of US military aircraft to Australia.
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said the two countries would “significantly enhance interoperability and deepen alliance activities in the Indo-Pacific”.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the conference endorsed “significant initiatives to expand US access and presence in Australia”.
Earlier, at dawn on September 16, the US – Australia – UK announced the defense cooperation agreement AUKUS. Under the agreement, the US will provide Australia with the technology and the ability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.
The Chinese Embassy in the US voiced its objection, saying that the US, UK and Australia were targeting this country: “Countries should shed the cold war mentality and ideological prejudice”.