WASHIINGTON -- Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III had a productive phone call with Australian Minister of Defence, Peter Dutton, to discuss a wide range of issues facing the U.S.-Australian Alliance.
The two leaders discussed security challenges and cooperation to enhance a free and open Indo-Pacific region. They also reviewed progress made by the AUKUS partnership since the historic announcement last September. They emphasized the importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan and looked forward to AUSMIN later this year.
The Secretary thanked Australia for its enduring support to Operation Inherent Resolve. He and Minister Dutton affirmed strong support to Ukraine against Russian aggression and the importance of defending the rules-based international order.