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10 July: The Week in Australian Foreign Policy

09 Jul 2020
By Isabella Keith
Parliament House At Dusk, Canberra ACT Source: Thennicke

The 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the 2020 Force Structure Plan, the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting, Australia’s security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, and more.

On 1 July, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds delivered a speech at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan. She noted that “[our] region is now facing the most consequential strategic realignment since the end of World War Two.”

On 7 July, Reynolds and Assistant Defence Minister Alex Hawke issued a joint media release reflecting on a special South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting. The meeting was held to discuss the regional security impacts of COVID-19 in the Pacific region. They had previously announced on 3 July the delivery of “the first of more than 30 planned virtual conferencing systems to our partner security agencies across the Pacific, beginning with Vanuatu and Fiji.” The systems will enable regional security leaders to participate in the virtual Joint Heads of Pacific Security (JHoPS) event in late 2020, as well as ongoing training, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

Reynolds also delivered a speech to the Perth USAsia Pacific Centre on 6 July addressing Australia’s security challenges across the Indo-Pacific.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) updated its travel advice on China, stating that Australians could face “arbitrary detention” if they go to the country.

DFAT announced on 1 July the establishment of the Emerging Markets Impact Investment Fund (EMIIF), a $40 million initiative to “enhance DFAT’s bilateral investment capability, enabling the use of non-grant finance to crowd in private capital, and improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in the Indo-Pacific.”

Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham announced on 3 July a $240 million funding injection to keep international freight routes and flights operating. On 5 July, Birmingham issued a media release recognising the beginning of the Indo-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (IA-CEPA).

The Australian ambassador to the United Nations, Mitch Fifield, delivered a speech to the Asia Society Australia on 1 July, acknowledging the UN’s 75th birthday and discussing the future of UN-led international cooperation. He stated that “the UN system still works. We still need it. We need to invest in it. We don’t have an alternative to it.”

Isabella Keith is an intern at AIIA National Office.

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