Australia, Japan to sign ‘Defense Pact’

On Thursday, Australia and Japan will sign a treaty to strengthen defence and security cooperation, a move that has been praised as “historic” but could enrage China. The agreement, which Morrison said “would underpin larger and more sophisticated practical interaction between the Australian Defense Force and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces,” will be signed in a virtual summit between Australia’s Scott Morrison and Japan’s Fumio Kishida.

Morrison continued, “Australia and Japan are the best of friends.”

“Our unique strategic alliance is stronger than it has ever been, reflecting our same values, dedication to democracy and human rights, and shared interests in a free, open, and resilient Indo-Pacific region.”

Australia signed the Aukus trilateral security pact with the US and the UK in September, under which the two countries agreed to assist Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.

Aukus “seriously endangered regional peace and stability, escalated the arms race, and undercut international non-proliferation efforts,” according to China.

Morrison called the current deal with Japan “historic” in a statement on Wednesday, saying it “would, for the first time, offer a clear foundation for improved interoperability and cooperation between our two armies.”

“This treaty will be a declaration of our two countries’ resolve to collaborate in solving the common strategic security challenges we confront and to contribute to a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific,” Morrison said.

The United States, Australia, India, and Japan are all participants of the “Quad” strategic discussion, and Morrison indicated Wednesday that Australia would contribute “an increasing agenda” to it as well.

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