Australia has teamed up with other countries worldwide to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems and related materials.

The partner countries have recently participated in Exercise Pacific Protector in support of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

The PSI, which involves 105 countries, seeks to build networks, tools and capabilities to counter illicit WMD-related trade across the globe.

During the four-day exercise, participating nations took part in a variety of events such as academic sessions, a table top exercise and a subject matter exchange training programme.

Exercise Pacific Protector 2017 also included a live exercise and demonstrations for sharing intelligence, improving quick decision-making processes, and deploying capabilities to conduct interdictions that will increase the capacity of PSI countries within the Indo-Pacific.

"We need look no further than North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes to understand the consequences of failing to prevent proliferation activities."

The live exercise involved a Royal Australian Navy Frigate, a Japanese P-3C Orion aircraft, and a Queensland Police vessel in a scenario to track ships suspected of carrying materials related to weapons of mass destruction.

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Australia Minister for Defence Marise Payne said:  “We need look no further than North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes to understand the consequences of failing to prevent proliferation activities.  Pyongyang’s provocative and dangerous behaviour in continuing to test nuclear weapons only serves to heighten our sense of purpose in stopping proliferation.

“The Australian Government is very pleased to be working with our regional PSI partners to enhance our ability to conduct and coordinate counter-proliferation operations.  Trade security is a vital concern in the Indo-Pacific, given that the region hosts major trade routes, transhipment hubs and ever increasing volumes of global of trade.”

The exercise witnessed participation from 20 PSI countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Russia, UK, US, Fiji, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam.