Australia, Japan set to sign ‘landmark’ defense treaty

Reciprocal Access Agreement to further strengthen security cooperation between the 2 nations, says Australian PM.

ANKARA (AA) – Australia and Japan are set to sign a “historic” treaty to strengthen bilateral defense and security cooperation, the former’s prime minister said on Wednesday.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement will be signed during a virtual leaders’ summit on Thursday.

“Australia and Japan are the closest of friends. Our Special Strategic Partnership is stronger than it has ever been, reflecting our shared values, our commitment to democracy and human rights, and our common interests in a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific region,” Scott Morrison said in a statement.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio was expected to visit the US and Australia mid-January, however, the scheduled trip has been cancelled to focus on tackling a domestic resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

The “landmark treaty” will underpin greater and more complex practical engagement between the Australian Defense Force and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

“It will, for the first time, provide a clear framework for enhanced interoperability and cooperation between our two forces,” Morrison said. “This treaty will be a statement of our two nations’ commitment to work together in meeting the shared strategic security challenges we face and to contribute to a secure and stable Indo-Pacific.”

The deal expands on efforts by the US, Japan, India and Australia – the Quad – amid concerns about China in the Asia-Pacific region.

Canberra and Tokyo will also discuss opportunities to strengthen government and business collaboration on clean energy, critical technologies and materials.

Last year, Australia, the US and UK signed the AUKUS security pact, which is seen as another attempt to counter China’s expanding economic and military influence in the region.


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