Australia foreign minister welcomes EU security pledge

Australia's foreign minister has started a European tour in Athens

The initiative was announced in September and includes plans to increase a naval presence by EU member states and build stronger defense ties with countries in the region.

“Australia strongly supports the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. The EU’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific is key to upholding rules and norms and supporting states’ resilience.”

Payne will visit Belgium and Austria after her stop in Greece, and will meet in Brussels with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.

The EU initiative follows a defense pact announced between the United States, Britain and Australia, triggering the cancellation of a submarine order from France worth more than $40 billion. The pact is seen as a response to China’s increasing military might.