Australia hosts Antarctic talks with China

Joint media release with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

Australian and Chinese officials met yesterday in Hobart, Tasmania, for the first meeting of the Joint Committee on Antarctic and Southern Ocean Collaboration.

The meeting signals our desire to strengthen cooperation on Antarctic science, operations and enhanced environmental protection. We agreed on priorities to guide our future work, both on the ground in Antarctica and through the Antarctic Treaty system.

China and Australia have a strong tradition of cooperation in Antarctica spanning many decades. Australia helped facilitate China’s first visit to east Antarctica 30 years ago, and we have continued to work closely together, providing support for each other’s Antarctic programs.

The Joint Committee was established under the China‑Australia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in the Field of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Affairs, signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hobart in November 2014.

Australia will continue to work closely with China and other countries to conduct world class science and protect Antarctica’s unique environment.

The statement below refers to the Joint Committee’s inaugural meeting and agreed priorities for a joint program of work.

China-Australia Joint Committee Meeting on Antarctic and Southern Ocean Collaboration Statement: 2016-2018

The inaugural meeting of the Joint Committee on Antarctic and Southern Ocean Collaboration was held on Monday 29 February 2016 in Hobart, Tasmania. The meeting was jointly chaired by Mr Lianzeng Chen, Deputy Administrator of the State Oceanic Administration of China and Dr Rhondda Dickson, Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Environment.

The Joint Committee was established under the China‑Australia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in the Field of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Affairs, signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hobart in November 2014.

The 2014 MOU reaffirms China and Australia’s long tradition of Antarctic cooperation and commitment to the Antarctic Treaty system. The establishment of the Joint Committee signals our desire to deepen our cooperation in Antarctic operations, science and enhanced environmental protection.

At the first meeting of the Joint Committee China and Australia agreed priorities for a joint program of work. We agreed that the Joint Committee will meet every two years to ensure the coordinated achievement of these priorities.

The initial priorities agreed for China-Australia Antarctic and Southern Ocean cooperation include:

  • Ensuring the Joint Committee serves as an effective overarching framework for China-Australia Antarctic cooperation and the platform to complement our strong operations and science cooperation
  • Agreeing a focus for future scientific cooperation
  • Holding a joint East Antarctic/Ross Sea Workshop on Collaborative Science in 2017
  • Increasing the use of Hobart as an Antarctic gateway
  • Advancing policy discussions on enhanced environmental protection and other key areas
  • Committing to support each other’s national Antarctic programs through an annual logistics support agreement ahead of each season
  • Establishing professional exchanges of scientists, officials and scholars on policy, science and operations.