The US and Australia have formed a partnership to combat the threat posed by highly pathogenic infectious diseases in the Indo-Pacific.
The announcement comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne met for two days this week in California for the annual Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) meetings.
It also follows Pompeo and Mattis confirming at AUSMIN America's strong commitment to the Indo-Pacific in the face of China expanding its influence in the region.
"Given the collective threat posed by certain highly pathogenic infectious diseases - whether through naturally occurring outbreaks or deliberate or accidental release - the governments of the United States and Australia have formed a multi-sectoral partnership to strengthen health security in the Indo-Pacific Region," the US and Australia said in a joint statement following AUSMIN.
"This partnership advances the goals of the US National Security Strategy and the Australian Foreign Policy White Paper and strongly supports implementation of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which endeavours to create a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats."
Australian Associated Press