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02 February 2023

Australian and UK ministers outline importance of the Indo-Pacific region to global security and prosperity

The Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and the UK Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan spoke of the importance of deepening strategic cooperation between the UK and the region during a visit to King’s College London this week.

The Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and the UK Minister of State for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan at King's

They were speaking at the launch of a new Indo-Pacific Programme at the university which will bring together experts to navigate complex challenges and shape understanding of maritime security, technology and defence in the region.

Senator Wong said the Programme, led by the Centre of Grand Strategy in the School of Security Studies, was “the first of its kind in the UK” aimed at understanding the geostrategic dynamics of the Indo-Pacific.

If conflict were to break out in the Indo-Pacific, it would be catastrophic – for our people and our prosperity. And with the Indo-Pacific’s centrality to global prosperity and security, the cost would extend far beyond us and reach into every region. We must ensure that competition between major powers is managed responsibly.

Senator Penny Wong

Ms Wong also spoke about colonisation and the importance of countries telling the stories about who they are to modernise relationships and better shape the present and future. 

Ms Trevelyan, Minister of State in the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, discussed the importance of continuing to strengthen relations between Britain and Australia. She stated that the refresh of the Integrated Review of the UK’s security, defence, development and foreign policy will demonstrate Britain’s “long-term commitment” to the Indo-Pacific. 

The Indo-Pacific is at the heart of our long-term strategic relationships, crucial to sustaining our values of free trade, freedom of action, and freedom from coercion. Our work together will ensure that citizens can grow in peace and prosperity.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Minister of State (Indo-Pacific)

Responding to the demand for expertise in the region, King’s new Indo-Pacific Programme will support this commitment by enhancing education and research and promoting collaboration in policy-relevant academic fields.

Professor Rachel Mills, Senior Vice President (Academic) at King’s, said it aims to “build problem-solving cultural competency and create an international community of students, experts, and practitioners with the unique ability to identify and solve specific problems.”

The King’s Indo-Pacific Programme is part of a range of initiatives being led by the university to bring together education, research, and policy communities to engage with security debates in the region.

In 2022 the PLuS Alliance, a collaborative partnership between King’s, Arizona State University and the University of New South Wales, launched Security & Defence PLuS. This programme focuses on advancing and supporting statecraft, research and commercialisation of competitive advantage capabilities for defence forces and policy in light of the AUKUS trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and United States .

The launch event held on Tuesday 31 January also included a panel discussion between Senator Wong and Ms Trevelyan moderated by Professor Alessio Patalano, Director of the Indo-Pacific programme, on the connection between Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions, AUKUS and the current challenges to global stability.

Watch a recording of the full event.

In this story

Alessio Patalano 540

Professor of War & Strategy in East Asia

Rachel Mills headshot

Senior Vice President (Academic)