Japan and Australia sign historic defense treaty
Steph Deschamps / January 6, 2022
Both countries believe this agreement will contribute to regional stability as China expands its military and economic influence.
japan and Australia on Thursday signed a treaty described as historic to strengthen their defense cooperation. Although Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not mention Beijing in a statement issued before the signing, the treaty is seen as another key step in strengthening ties between Canberra and Tokyo in the face of China's ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ahead of an online summit with his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida on Thursday, Scott Morrison called the agreement an affirmation of the two nations' commitment to work together to address the shared strategic security challenges we face and to contribute to a secure and stable Indo-Pacific. This historic treaty will provide for the first time a clear framework for increased interoperability and cooperation between our two forces, said Scott Morrison.
The partnership reflects our shared values, our commitment to democracy and human rights, and our common interests in a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific, he added. Japan and Australia are already part of an informal group with the United States and India called the Quad, which in recent years has sought to build an alliance to address threats posed by China in the Pacific.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said as early as Wednesday that state-to-state exchanges and cooperation should be conducive to strengthening mutual understanding and trust among countries in the region rather than targeting or undermining the interests of a third party. We hope that the Pacific will be an ocean of peace, not a place to make waves, he added. According to Ali Wyne, an analyst at Eurasia Group, China will likely see this as further evidence that advanced industrial democracies are seeking to impede its resurgence.