Opening remarks, Brisbane

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Penny Wong, Foreign Minister: I just want to say, Tony, it’s so wonderful to welcome you to Australia. And we have been looking forward to this. We, obviously, we’ve been working together for some time. I mean, we saw each other just last week, was it just last week? I think it was last week.

We have appreciated how much you personally, and the administration, have been engaged in the region. And, what I want to say to you is this: I think Australians understand, certainly the government recognises, that we live in challenging times and how important, not just our alliance, but our friendship is at this time. Where we want a region and a world which is peaceful, stable and prosperous. And we understand the importance of working closely with you to ensure that that is achieved. So, thank you so much for being here.

Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State: Well, as we would say, right back at you Penny. We have no greater friend, no greater partner, no greater ally than Australia. And I don’t think that alliance or partnership has ever been stronger, at least in my experience.

And it really does go to what you’ve said, which is particularly in challenging times, it makes such a huge difference to have close friends, close partners, as we tackle the challenges that we both face around the world and also try to find some opportunity in finding progress.

I’m really grateful to you, to Deputy Prime Minister as well, Richard, for pulling AUSMIN together. We are very much looking forward to it. I have to say, everywhere I go in the world, or certainly in this region it’s, “Oh, yeah, Penny was just here.” So, I’m getting used to that, too. Thank you.

Foreign Minister: Well, it’s wonderful to have you. Okay, thanks everyone.

Secretary Bkinken: Thanks everyone.

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