US-Australian Leaders Discuss Security and Economic Goals

US and Australian officials signed a statement of principles aimed at promoting and expanding defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. The nonbinding statement of principles is intended to “help guide” the two countries as they “put together a force posture agreement” which will further strengthen their relationship, said Kerry in a Nov. 20 release. Officials are trying to “accelerate that agreement as rapidly as possible,” said Kerry who noted that negotiations will begin next month on a binding agreement intended to govern force posture initiatives in the region. In addition, the two countries signed an agreement to relocate an advanced space surveillance telescope to Western Australia, said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who also participated in the discussions. The telescope will provide highly accurate detection, tracking, and identification of deep-space objects, states the release. “All these steps are helping strengthen our alliance as we continue to work together to face the challenges and opportunities of this new century,” he said.