Australia, Japan Sign Historic Defense Pact

Australia and Japan signs a treaty to beef up defence and security cooperation at a virtual summit today, in the latest move to strengthen ties amid China’s rising military power and economic clout in the Indo-Pacific region, reported Sky News Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he and Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida would sign a Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), which would for the first time set out a framework for the two countries’ defence forces to cooperate with each other.

“[The RAA] will usher in a new chapter in advanced defence cooperation between Australia and Japan to deal with a new and even more challenging environment, particularly within the Indo-Pacific,” Mr Morrison said at a press conference. 

“This will be Japan’s only reciprocal status of forces agreement and that says something very significant about the level of trust and partnership — a partnership of equals — standing up for the security of the Indo-Pacific, and of the values of democracy that we hold dear, and the partnerships that we have with so many countries in the region, particularly throughout ASEAN.”

Mr Morrison and former Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga announced in-principal agreement RAA in 2020.

The strengthened security ties expand on efforts by the United States, Japan, India and Australia — dubbed the Quad — to work on shared concerns about China, including its pressure on Taiwan, trade disputes, and freedom of navigation in the region.

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