Australia asserts to US: 'We don't agree on everything'
Australia and the US have held high-level talks on what military measures will be enforced in response to China's use of missile and hypersonic defence technologies.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Mike Esper today, to discuss the US military having a presence in Darwin.
Ms Payne praised Australia's long-standing alliance with the US but insisted that Australia would prioritise its own personal interests over any rhetoric the US had against the Chinese Communist party.
She said although Australia and the US are allies, they "don't agree on everything – and that's part of a respectful relationship".
"The relationship that we have with China is important. We have no intention of injuring it. Nor do we intend to do things that are contrary to our interests," Ms Payne said.
The ministers and secretaries also agreed to step up cooperation on things like tackling coronavirus, developing new defence technologies and beefing up security in the Indo-Pacific.
While Ms Payne and Ms Reynolds were criticised by some for travelling overseas during the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Pompeo thanked them for making the trip under the circumstances.
He also praised the Morrison government for standing up to Beijing over disputed territory in the South China Sea.
Ms Reynolds also announced a US funded fuel and military reserve would be set up in Darwin, where US military personnel have been operating since 2012.
China has been criticised in recent months over their military practices in the South China Sea.
China claims the strategic waterway is its sovereign territory and since 2014, it has built artificial islands on reclaimed reefs and installed military bases on them.
Australia has previously refused requests from the US to us their Darwin bases for weapons training.