Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken have discussed Russia's invasion of Ukraine and concerns about Beijing's new security pact with the Solomon Islands during a meeting in Brussels.
Payne and Blinken are in Brussels for a meeting of NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers to discuss their international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
"The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed joint efforts to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its unprovoked and unjust war against Ukraine as well as mutual efforts to provide security assistance to Ukraine," Price said.
In addition to discussing the conflict in Europe, Payne and Blinken discussed issues closer to Australia, where Beijing has sought to expand its influence and military deployments in the Asia-Pacific via a new security pact with the Solomon Islands.
The controversial deal would see Beijing allowed to deploy Chinese troops and police in the Solomon Islands to quell unrest, as well as station naval vessels and weaponry within 1,700 kilometres (1,000 miles) of Australia's east coast.
At their meeting, Payne and Blinken discussed the developments and reiterated their "commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," Price said.
It is understood that the AUKUS security pact between Australia, America, and Britain, which will see Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarine technology, will act as a deterrent in the region, with Price confirming that Payne and Blinken discussed its progress over the past six months.
"They also shared concerns about recent regional developments and ways to support countries in making open and transparent decisions about their own security and economic interests," Price said.