07 May 2012
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano held talks with government officials in New Zealand and Australia May 2–5, signed new agreements in both nations and lead the presidential delegation to Brisbane, Australia, for the 70th anniversary of the World War II Battle of the Coral Sea.
Napolitano began her visits May 2 in Wellington, New Zealand. Joined by U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand David Huebner and Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin, Napolitano held meetings with Prime Minister John Key and other New Zealand officials to discuss a variety of issues including information sharing, trusted traveler programs, combating transnational crime and human trafficking.
“Our two nations may be oceans apart, but we are both tied to the same global economy and same international transportation networks — and we must work together to protect them,” Napolitano said in Wellington. “By enhancing collaboration between our two countries — and with our many partners across the region — we will continue to ensure the security of the region, while combating threats to our citizens.”
While in New Zealand, Napolitano signed the Joint Statement on Combating Trafficking in Persons in the Pacific Islands Region with Immigration Minister Nathan Guy, and signed a Joint Statement to Strengthen Border Security, Combat Transnational Organized Crime, and Facilitate Legitimate Trade and Travel with Customs Minister Maurice Williamson. The latter agreement emphasizes the commitment to combating transnational crime, while facilitating legitimate trade and travel, DHS said.
Napolitano traveled to Canberra, Australia, on May 3 and to Brisbane on May 5 where she led the presidential delegation, which included U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeff L. Bleich and Commander of the United States 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Scott H. Swift, at the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
“Australians and Americans have fought together — and given lives together — in every single major conflict over the past hundred years,” Napolitano said. “Today reminds us of the sacrifices made by our fellow countrymen — Americans and Australians alike — and their courage, bravery, and determination to achieve victory, whatever the costs.”
Napolitano also read a commemorative message from President Obama, which said that seven decades after the battle, the United States and Australia “remain united in our purpose to preserve freedom, maintain stability, and promote lasting peace.”
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a series of naval engagements off the northeast coast of Australia May 4–8, 1942, that prevented the invasion of Port Moresby by Japanese forces and helped turn the tide of World War II in favor of the Allies.
While in Canberra, Secretary Napolitano delivered remarks at the Australian National University, highlighting the importance of security, privacy and strong international partnerships. During her remarks, she underscored the Department of Homeland Security’s commitment to protecting privacy rights through the DHS Privacy Office, which ensures that privacy protections are built into the department’s systems and technologies.
While in Australia, Napolitano signed the Joint Statement on Countering Transnational Crime, Terrorism and Violent Extremism with Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management Nicola Roxon, underscoring the collaboration between the two nations to combat terrorist and criminal threats. Napolitano also met with Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and Defense Materiel Jason Clare to sign the Statement of Intent on Frequent Traveler Facilitation; the Joint Statement on the Development of a Framework for Cooperative International Targeting and Assessment; and the Joint Statement on Global Supply Chain Security, reaffirming the commitment of both countries to strengthen the global supply chain while facilitating international trade and travel.
“Our partnership with Australia is growing deeper and stronger, as evidenced by the security-related statements signed today,” said Napolitano. “By enhancing collaboration between our two countries, we will continue to work together to develop a cooperative and global approach to the challenges and threats we all face.”