TOKYO, December 9 Japan and Australia today pledged to strengthen their defense cooperation in a security environment that both countries consider more hostile, mainly due to China’s military rise in the Indo-Pacific region.
This was agreed on Friday by the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, and the Australian Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, Richard Marliss and Penny Wong, at a meeting in Tokyo where cooperation in the areas of natural resources was also discussed. energy.
Sources from the Japanese executive said after the meeting that Kishida and the Australian ministers agreed during the meeting on the need to lead efforts to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Defending the “free and open Indo-Pacific region” is what Tokyo and Washington call their joint strategy to counter China’s growing influence in the region and the intensification of its military activities in the region, which are often denounced by allied countries.
Japan and the United States promote this vision within the framework of the Quartet – in which Australia and India are integrated, in addition to these two countries, and whose members Tokyo and Washington are seeking to find concrete ways to expand their cooperation in the security and military field. issues.
The agenda for Wong and Marlisse’s visit to Japan, who also serves as Australian deputy prime minister, also includes a meeting on Friday with his Japanese counterparts, Yoshimasa Hayashi and Yasukazu Hamada, in the form of “2+2” ministerial meetings.
Japan and Australia started their bilateral meetings of this kind in 2018 and this year they will be held in person in Tokyo after being conducted electronically in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Kishida also held a summit with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese last October in the Australian city of Perth, after which the two leaders issued a joint statement highlighting the “strategic and vital cooperation” between the two countries and their commitment to a free and open Indian movement. -Pacific. EFE
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