Australia and Japan to strengthen defence ties

Australia and Japan will strengthen military ties as leaders of both the countries recommit to ensuring regional stability and strong trade links.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Sydney where the two leaders agreed to deepen defence ties and stressed the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Malcolm Turnbull and Shinzo Abe also signed an upgraded defense agreement after talks in Sydney on trade and regional security issues.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed the strengthening of cooperation between Japan and Australia regarding both the economy and security during his meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday.

“Our meeting has reinforced that the Japan and Australia relationship is truly a very special strategic partnership,” Turnbull said on Saturday.

“We are committed to advancing our economic, investment and trade relationship, our defence and security cooperation, and our common commitment to a secure and prosperous region,” Mr. Turnbull said in a statement.

Australian Prime Minister noted that: “Australia counts Japan among its closest security and defence partners, guided by our shared commitment to pursuing peace and stability in our region. We are “all-weather” friends who can rely on one another. Individually and collectively with other partners, we support peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and the rules-based international order that provides its foundation.”

“Today this co-operation is expanding into areas such as cyber security, space and defence science, counter-terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation.”

Abe and Turnbull also agreed that Japan and Australia will continue to cooperate with the administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull walk together along the shore of Sydney Harbor on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian leader Malcolm Turnbull walk together along the shore of Sydney Harbor on Saturday. Photo: REUTERS

Abe, Turnbull sign pact boosting Japan-Australia defence ties

During the talks, Abe and Turnbull confirmed work toward concluding this year a status of visiting forces agreement, which would facilitate joint exercises between the Self-Defence Forces and the Australian military.

Both governments held a signing ceremony for the new Acquisition and Cross-servicing Agreement (ACSA), which will enable the mutual provision of ammunition.

The new agreement also means the Australian defence force will soon be able to supply ammunition to the Japanese military for the first time.

Australia and Japan discuss trade ties

The seventh set of discussions between Turnbull and Abe, held at Kirribilli, were focused on trade and regional security and came on the second anniversary of the Japan-Australia economic partnership agreement.

Under the deal, more than 97% of Australian products are imported into Japan duty-free and a further round of tariff cuts are due to come into effect on 1 April.

Abe and Turnbull also reaffirmed their commitment to free trade, including bringing into force the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to dump.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International