Australia and New Zealand have reaffirmed their commitment to mutual commitment to Defence cooperation in the South Pacific.
Following a meeting in Adelaide of both countries' defence ministers, New Zealand's Ron Mark and Australia's Christopher Pyne released a joint statement on defence cooperation in the Pacific region.
Their discussions highlighted the increase in focus of both governments on the Pacific Islands region.
Their statement said this focus built on the principles outlined in last year's refreshed Statement on Closer Defence Relations.
The ministers said their two countries intended to work more together in a manner consistent with the priorities outlined in the Boe Declaration.
The declaration, signed at the pacific Forum summit last year, identifies climate change as the single biggest threat to regional security.
"It also reinforces the position New Zealand took in the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018, which raised the priority placed on the Defence Force's ability to operate in the South Pacific to the same level as New Zealand's territory, the Southern Ocean and Antarctica," Ron Mark said.
The three focus areas agreed under the Joint Statement are for Australia and New Zealand to:
- Have the collective ability to improve security outcomes in the Pacific;
- Maintain strong, interoperable forces and capabilities to respond to requests for security assistance from the Pacific countries; and
- Enhance Pacific resilience and self-reliance through the two countries' respective capacity building programmes.