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Australia to open 'new chapter' with Timor-Leste with upgraded military base

Bernama - August 30, 2019

Canberra – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a "maritime security package" for Timor-Leste including a revamped military base, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting local media.

Morrison on Friday departed Australia for his first official visit to Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, as he declared the opening of a "new chapter" in the relationship between the two nations.

The visit coincides with the 20th anniversary of the referendum in which the people of Timor-Leste voted for independence from Indonesia, a deal that was secured with Australia's help.

Prior to departing, Morrison told News Corp Australia that his government will fund an upgrade of the Hera Naval Base on the country's north coast and an underwater Internet cable connecting the nations.

He said there was a significant opportunity for Australia and Timor-Leste to "deepen our cooperation" as Australia looks to ramp-up its presence in the Pacific.

"This is a new chapter for Australia and Timor-Leste that is based on our shared respect, interests and values," he said.

"Timor-Leste has made incredible progress in the last 20 years and we want to be there to help Timor-Leste grow for the next 20 (years) and beyond," Morrison said.

Morrison will be joined by Marise Payne, the Australian foreign minister, for a meeting with Timor-Leste Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak.

The fibre optic sea cable will link Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, with Port Hedland to upgrade Timor-Leste's satellite Internet.

Source: http://www.bernama.com/en/world/news.php?id=176272