Japan’s Abe in Australia to discuss military cooperation

World Today

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pose at a joint signing ceremony at the completion of bilateral talks at Kirribilli house on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Brook Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)

The leaders of Australia and Japan agreed on Saturday to boost cooperation between their nations’ militaries, as Japan tries to shore up security ties throughout the Asia-Pacific region amid tensions with China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said they had signed an upgraded defense agreement after holding talks in Sydney on trade and regional security issues.

The two leaders signed an agreement to deepen defence ties – that includes joint military training and and exercises in the region. The move is designed to better protect strategic and trade interests in the region. It also helps to underscore their alliance to the U.S. when it comes to security.

Abe summed up their meetings – saying the uncertain geopolitical landscape has made the relationship between Japan and Australia even more important.

The leaders said the pact would allow their militaries to provide each other with logistical support during exercises, and are working towards an agreement that would make it easier to participate in joint military exercises.

Abe arrived in Sydney from the Philippines on Friday on the second leg of a four-nation swing intended to boost Japan’s trade and security engagements amid China’s emergence as a military power in the Pacific. After Australia, he visits Indonesia and Vietnam.

Abe and Turnbull also noted the importance of maintaining their relationships with the United States, both pledging to work with incoming U.S. President Donald Trump.

The leaders also reaffirmed their support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the 12-nation trade pact that Trump has vowed to scrap.

Before arriving in Sydney, Abe visited the Philippines where he pledged $8.7 billion U.S. dollars worth of business opportunities and private investments along with equipment to fight terrorism.