After six years, the two countries ink a deal to streamline procedures for their respective military’s deployment in each other's territory. The Japanese have such a pact only with the US. Australia and Japan’s membership in the Chinese-dominated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership does not undermine their alliance with the United States.
Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Japan and Australia today signed an agreement to boost military cooperation and facilitate deploying troops to each other's territory.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, made the announcement at a joint press conference following a meeting in the Japanese capital.
Both countries, which are US allies, have voiced concern over China's military build-up, repeatedly condemning China’s militarisation of islands in the South China Sea, and sending its coast guard to the waters around the Japanese-held Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Both governments have also criticised Beijing’s security legislation restricting Hong Kong's freedoms.
Tokyo and Canberra have been talking about the Reciprocal Access Agreement since 2014, which will streamline the deployment of Japanese and Australian troops in each other's territory for joint exercises and disaster relief missions.
Tokyo signed a similar pact with the United States in 1960 agreement.
Suga and Morrison noted that their partnership is designed to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific." It is also a warning to China over its geopolitical claims.
According to analysts, the pact is a sign that Japan and Australia's accession to the China-dominated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest free trade agreement in the world, will not weaken their shared stance with the United States against China’s rise.