Japan, Australia Agree in Principle to Security Agreement

The leaders of Japan and Australia have reached a preliminary agreement on a bilateral defense pact

    2020/11/23

NSFW    TOKYO — Chinese state media lashed out against Japan and Australia last week over their "confrontational" new defense pact and said the two countries would "pay a corresponding price" if it threatens China's security.

The leaders of Japan and Australia reached a preliminary agreement on a bilateral defense pact on Tuesday, November 17, according to a statement from Australia's prime minister. The deal, dubbed the Reciprocal Access Agreement, bolsters ties between the two U.S. allies amid rising Chinese military assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.

If ratified, the agreement would allow the countries to train on each other's territory, make it easier for troops from both sides to share military bases, and streamline cooperation during military exercises and disaster missions.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga held in-person talks during which they also agreed to cooperate in tackling climate change. Their meeting follows Sunday's signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would become the world's largest trade bloc and includes China, Japan, Australia and 12 other Asia-Pacific countries.

In a joint statement, Suga and Morrison expressed "serious concerns about the situation" in the South and East China Seas and "strong opposition" to militarizing disputed islands and other unilateral attempts to change the status quo, without explicitly mentioning China.

China's state-run Global Times, said the deal between Japan and Australia "provides a new lever for the U.S. to divide Asia" and that Tokyo and Canberra "are recklessly taking the first step to conduct deep defence cooperation that targets a third party."

The tabloid warned Beijing was "unlikely to remain indifferent to U.S. moves aimed at inciting countries to gang up against China in the long run."
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