Australia-US/East Asia

Chronology from Sep 2020 to Aug 2021

: Payne makes joint statement with 94 other nations on assurances from the Taliban on travel out of Afghanistan.

: Australia allocates initial 3,000 humanitarian places for Afghan nationals to come to Australia; since 2013, 8,500 Afghans have resettled in Australia.

: Australia’s prime minister, defense minister, and foreign minister call on the Taliban’s leadership to be “responsible and accountable for the conduct of its forces” and for no threat or hindrance to those wanting to leave Afghanistan.

: Payne issues a statement on Australian journalist Cheng Lei’s detention in China for one year, expressing serious concern about her welfare, and “a lack of transparency about the reasons for Ms. Cheng’s detention.”

: Defense Minister Peter Dutton addresses opening ceremony of Exercise Talisman Sabre.

: Payne issues statement marking the fifth anniversary of South China Sea Arbitral Award that dismissed China’s claim to “historical rights or maritime rights” in the South China Sea.

: Kathryn Campbell is appointed secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, following Frances Adamson who leaves to become governor of South Australia.

: Ninth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations take place.

: Australian Federal Police reported to have taken part in a global “sting” operation against organized crime suspects across 12 countries who use an encrypted app designed by police.

: Payne has talks in Washington with Blinken.

: Payne visits Kabul to affirm support for the Afghanistan government

: China suspends its Strategic Economic Dialogue with Australia.

: Using foreign relations powers, Canberra cancels four deals between the state of Victoria and foreign nations, including a Belt and Road Initiative agreement with China.

: Morrison announces withdrawal of Australia’s last remaining troops in Afghanistan, in line with US action.

: Australia announces vaccines for the South Pacific.

: First Quad leaders’ meeting of Australia, India, Japan, and the US takes place.

: Australian journalist and former business anchor for Chinese state media outlet China Global Television Network (CGTN) Cheng Lei is formally arrested by PRC authorities after six months in detention.

: First phone conversation between Morrison and President Biden takes place.

: Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has her first discussion with new US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin.

: Morrison has a virtual meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to elevate the Australia­–Malaysia relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership.”

: Morrison holds the first annual leaders’ talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc under the Australia-Vietnam strategic partnership.

: Australia joins Canada, the UK, and US in expressing serious concern at the mass arrests of 55 politicians and activists in Hong Kong for subversion under the National Security Law.

: Payne notes refusal of a UK court to extradite Australian citizen Julian Assange to the US, stating that “Australia is not a party to the case and will continue to respect the ongoing legal process.”

: Foreign Minister Marise Payne announces a “Sydney Dialogue” designed to be the “the world’s premier summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies.”

: Morrison says a Chinese ban on Australia coal breaches WTO rules.

: Free trade agreement between the South Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand begins operation.

: Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community is released, along with the government response.

: Morrison visits Japan to meet new Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, reaching in-principle agreement on a Japan-Australia defense pact, allowing closer military cooperation on exercises and shared use of resources, including bases and fuel.

: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces a new investigative body to examine findings of war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

: A report on Australian military war crimes in Afghanistan is handed to the Chief of the Defence Force.

: Reports that Chinese state-owned energy providers and steel mills are told to stop importing Australian coal. The Australian mining company, BHP, says Chinese customers have cancelled coal orders.

: 2020: The foreign ministers of the Quad meet in Tokyo.

: normal !msorm;">Sept. 7, 2020: Two Australian foreign correspondents leave China after each is questioned by police from China’s Ministry of State Security.

Date Range