Foreign Minister Marise Payne has met with US Secretary of State Tony Blinken to reaffirm the "unshakeable commitment" of the US-Australian alliance amid an increasingly militaristic tone of commentary in relation to China back in Australia.
The pair of diplomats also exchanged notes on sanctioning China for human rights abuses.
Following the meeting in Washington DC on Thursday, they addressed a media conference and urged Israel to end the rocket attacks in Gaza and the West Bank "which continues to claim the lives of innocent children, women, and men," Mr Blinken told reporters.
If the United Nations were to discuss intervening in the conflict in Israel, Australia would be an active participant in that debate, Senator Payne added as she called for all parties to refrain from violent or provocative acts.
"Violence is no solution. Whether they are rocket attacks, or indiscriminate acts that fuel the cycle of violence and bloodshed, they are also never justified," Senator Payne said.
Security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and the respective governments' relationships with China were the main topics of the discussion, with Australia seeking and receiving a "clear expression" of support from Washington as Australia "works through those differences" with China.
"I reiterated that the United States will not leave Australia alone on the field - or maybe I should say alone on the pitch - in the face of economic coercion by China," Mr Blinken said. "That's what allies do. We have each other's backs so we can face threats and challenges from a position of collective strength."
The US was tackling the challenge of ensuring international law is respected in the East and South China Seas, he added, tensions over which have been the source of "drums of war" comments back in Australian foreign policy circles in recent weeks.
Senator Payne said that her colleagues were ready to resume dialogue with Beijing.
"But we won't compromise on our national security or our sovereignty, and we'll continue to act to protect that," she said.
Great to meet with Foreign Minister @MarisePayne today to discuss our ongoing commitment to the health, security, and prosperity of the #IndoPacific. We look forward to celebrating the 70th anniversary of #ANZUS alongside our friend and ally Australia later this year. #USwithAUSpic.twitter.com/rTQyZG0JFh— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 13, 2021
Concerned about what she called as credible reports concerning human rights abuses in the Xinjiang provence, Senator Payne says Australia does not have the same sanctions regimes as the United States, but was exploring adopting a Magnitsky-style system of sanctions.
"We have firmly underscored the importance of transparency and accountability and reiterated our strong call for China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to appropriate international observers in Xinjiang," she said.
The Minister raised the reports about China with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in Geneva last week, and welcomed those countries that have activated sanctions mechanisms regarding Xinjiang, including Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Both countries are also seeking more transparency from China on the origins of the COVID-19 virus, expressing to reporters their frustration and desire for an independent, international and objective review into the coronavirus, its origins and its impact.
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