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US, Australian FMs: AUKUS initiative not targeting China

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (KUNA) -- The US and Australia on Thursday asserted that the security partnership (AUKUS) is not targeting China or any other country.
"This is about enhancing our cooperation, our work together, ultimately about enhancing security and stability in the Indo-Pacific, it is not aimed at any country," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a joint press conference, after US and Australia's Defense and Foreign Ministers meeting in Washington today.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne noted that they have discussed the competition of China at a number of levels that requires responding and increasing resilience.
"This does not mean that there are not constructive areas for engagement with China, as Australia continues to seek dialogue with China without preconditions," she argued.
Payne described the United States leadership in the Indo-Pacific as indispensable.
"We must compete in order to preserve and to shape the international order that has underpinned decades of prosperity and economic stability in the Indo-Pacific," she laid it bare.
Nevertheless, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that they have deliberated in detail "China's destabilizing activities and Beijing's efforts to coerce and intimidate other countries, contrary to established rules and norms." "And while we seek a constructive, results-oriented relationship with the PRC, we will remain clear-eyed in our view of Beijing's efforts to undermine the established international order". Austin, however, affirmed that this agreement and this relationship is not aimed at anything or anyone.
Furthermore, Australia's Defense Minister Peter Dutton was asked if China threatens stability in the region, where he replied, "Well, no, I don't see it as a threat." (end) rsr.mys