U.S., Australia discussing Asian issues

Feb. 23, 2008 at 4:05 PM

CANBERRA, Australia, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. and Australian officials are meeting in Canberra, Australia, to discuss significant security issues facing Asian countries such as Indonesia.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said the main topics at the Canberra meeting involved improving relations with Indonesia and the nuclear regulation of the Korean peninsula, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said Saturday.

"We talked about efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula through the six-party talks process," Negroponte said.

"We discussed how we can deepen our engagement with Indonesia as a democratic partner and promote prosperity and counter-terrorism throughout southeast Asia."

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is to arrive in Australia next week to continue the diplomatic talks, the broadcasting group said.

While the two countries remain split on the potential sale of U.S. F-22 Raptor jets, Gates has offered praise for Australian officials' attempts to help lead their region.

"We appreciate Australia's principal leadership in the region, in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and most recently in East Timor," Gates said.

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