In a much more uncertain world, meetings such as AUKMIN are helping to maintain important democratic alliances.


The most recent Australia-United Kingdom Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) took place in Sydney on Friday, 21 February. The gathering took place as a Russian military assault on Ukraine appeared imminent. AUKMIN parties knew how important it was to find ways to strengthen democratic ties through closer co-operation, or risk losing ground to aggressive international behaviour from Russia and China.  Key points of this ASPI article:

  • The latest meetings were a far cry from their beginnings in 2006 when AUKMIN was established. At that time, UK and Australian officials held a similar view—Britain’s future was in Europe and Australia’s was in Asia.
  • Britain and Australia have interests that go beyond our immediate neighbourhoods. We are not small regional players but, rather, large states with global interests.
  • The rising aggressiveness of China and Russia (as well as North Korea and Iran) is the biggest strategic challenge of our age. It is pushing consequential democracies together.
  • It is to Australia’s benefit that the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands and others now define Indo-Pacific security as relevant to them.
  • Thinking and acting alone is what China wants us to do because it encourages capitulation. Working together in ANZUS, AUKUS, AUKMIN, the Quad and other groupings is what Beijing doesn’t want because it strengthens democracies.
  • The British have promised ‘greater rotations’ of British vessels into the region and will re-establish a persistent Indo-Pacific presence this year.

The AUKMIN partners signed agreements for a ‘cyber and critical technology partnership’ and for ‘clean, reliable and transparent infrastructure investment in the Indo-Pacific’. This points to a broadening of co-operation beyond traditional defence and intelligence roots.


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Source Information: ASPI