Opening remarks at the UK National Cyber Security Centre

18 Apr 2018
Prime Minister, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister of Canada, Prime Minister of New Zealand
Defence and National Security


Thank you. Thanks very much. Thank you very much Jeremy and thank you Kieran and welcome to the UK National Cyber Security Centre. And along with United States and obviously the four nations represented here are part of the unique security and intelligence sharing partnership. And one that for many years has done much to ensure that we can check the whole range of threats.

I said yesterday at the joint forum that recent global events have, I think, served to underline the need for nations to stand together in the face of those who would challenge the rules-based international order.

As you would know last month a military grade nerve agent was deployed on the streets of a British city, an act that we can only conclude that was carried out by the Russian state. And I'd like to thank our friends and allies here today for their solidarity in responding to what was an unprovoked and unacceptable action. Solidarity that was echoed by other leaders around the world.

Meanwhile, Russia is using cyber, Kieran has made a reference to Russia using cyber, they’re using cyber as part of a wider effort to attack and undermine the international system. And its interference over the past year has included attacks on public sector, media, telecommunications and energy sectors. And co-operation between our nations allowed us to trace February's NotPetya attack to Russia.

And since last month's attack in Salisbury. Moscow has been waging a concerted campaign of cyber dis-information seeking to distort the truth of what took place.

I've been clear to Russia that we know what it is doing and we should be in no doubt that such cyber-warfare is one of the greatest challenges of our time and working with our closest allies, three of whom are here today. We will work around the clock with all the technology at our disposal to stop aggressive states and non-state actors from succeeding.

The same must be true of Syria where earlier this month the Assad regime violated most protected norms of the international community by using chemical weapons in an indiscriminate and barbaric attack on its own people. We cannot afford to ignore such acts. That's why the UK, with the United States and France acted decisively to degrade the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities and deter their future use.

Once again, I was heartened by the united response of the international community with our friends here today being joined by NATO, the G-7, the Gulf Cooperation Council and others in issuing statements of support.

I think it does show that the world is prepared to take action to protect the rules and the norms that protect us all.

I think the partnership between these four nations, between our four nations is a shining example of that. We already, I think operate at levels of trust and intelligence sharing that no other group can match. I think now is the time to build on that. Standing together in defence of the international order and defence of the international rules-based system. And in defiance of those who threaten us all by seeking to undermine it.

I would like to welcome comments from my three fellow leaders. Perhaps Malcolm we'll start with you.


Thank you Theresa. The whole world was appalled by the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. It was a crime. It was an act of aggression on British soil and we responded with the solidarity we've always shown when Britain's freedoms have been challenged.

And again, Britain's actions with France and the United States in Syria in calibrated, proportionate and responsible action was the right answer to that shocking chemical attack in Douma.

The message has to be sent by nations in solidarity that this type of illegal conduct whether it is a chemical attack in Syria, the use of a nerve agent on British soil or the expanding cyber attacks across the internet across the whole digital domain on which all of our businesses and economies depend. These must be resisted. They must be detected. They must be identified and we must do everything we can to make our countries, our citizens secure again.

So, I want to thank you so much for hosting us here today and for the solidarity you and your government and the people of Britain have always shown Australia and we will always show for you, because the maintenance of that rules-based order, the maintenance of the principle that might is not right is what all of our futures depend upon. Now, and in years to come, as they have in years past.


Thank you. Justin.


Thank you as well for welcoming us here, we're looking forward to our afternoon. Obviously, I echo Malcolm's points as we have been over the past days and weeks that we must stand together in the moments like the attack in Salisbury or in the condemnation of chemical weapons that were necessary and targeted response by UK, France and the US. We all stand together. One of the things that we recognise is there are folks out there in the world ,countries out there in the world that do not share our values and our approach to freedoms and mostly the rules-based order that has preserved a level of not just peace and stability but prosperity in the world over the past decades.

We recognise the arrival of new threats as we get more and more digital as we develop AI as we look at new technologies and ways of empowering citizens and enhancing their lives we also have to be aware of the vulnerabilities that come with it. Our capacity to work together to both protect private information of citizens to work to uphold the values and the freedoms that underpin, not just the well being of our democracies but the continued flourishing of democracies in general as people are worried about the threats in the world as they are anxious about their future.

There is a potential slide towards more strong arm tactics more authoritarian governments that we've seen elsewhere around the world so the importance of like-minded friends and partners, like us four, to stand together, to be aware of these challenges and mostly to work together to provide a response and a solidarity that is a clear message to those around the world who do not play by the same rules. As well as a demonstration of the strength and our focus on creating prosperity, safety and security for our citizens.

We stand together and I am so proud to be able to sit by your side today.


Can I start by thanking you Prime Minister May for convening this meeting. The opportunity we have now that we are here in London together. Particularly given that recent events have underlined the value and importance of us coming together, to working together to showing that shared commitment to a rules-based system particularly by those of us who share the values and principles that we do. Like everyone here, New Zealand stands absolutely opposed to the abhorrent use of chemical weapons. Regardless of the area which we've seen recent examples of their use, regardless of scale, it is a violation of international law and we cannot allow their use to go unanswered.

We agree with the need to send a clear message and that clear message has been sent. Given the action was taken to call out a breach of international law, now we must seek to return to the international order that we have been seeking to defend. And that poses new challenges for us as we try and strengthen those rules-based systems. That have been circumvented, that haven't been utilised that we've seen the use of veto powers which undermine the importance of those international forums and institutions.

So there we have an additional challenge as we try and make sure we uphold those institutions that defend the values that are so important to us. There is no doubt we broadly face common security challenges, challenges that do not respect borders or boundaries and we all benefit from a collective rules-based approach. So, I welcome the opportunity for us to sit down together today and as nations that have those shared values, discuss how they are best enforced.