Amid China's Ever Growing Threat, Japan, Australia Likely To Ink Defense Pact

Andrew Cummings
November 19, 2020

It will form a key plank of Australia's and Japan's response to an increasingly challenging security environment in our region amid more uncertain strategic circumstances.

His efforts are being reinforced by Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.

Senator Birmingham said Australia's door remained open but China could not be forced to come to the table.

Zhao said that it is normal for China and Australia, countries with different historical traditions, social systems and at different development stages, to have differences, but what's important is to properly manage those differences in a constructive manner rather than impose one's own ideas on others based on the pretext of safeguarding national interests and values.

Suga made the comments during a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who is visiting Tokyo.

China has launched various trade strikes against valuable Australian exports as diplomatic tensions sour over the coronavirus, human rights abuses and foreign interference accusations.

After holding their first face-to-face meeting in Tokyo, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced an "in-principle agreement" on the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), a deal eyeing closer military cooperation between the two countries.

He said Australia was responsible for the deterioration in ties, saying "whoever started the trouble should end it".

Japan considers Australia as a semi-ally and the two countries signed a defense cooperation agreement in 2007, a first for Japan with a country other than the U.S. The two nations agreed on the sharing of military supplies in 2013, expanding the deal in 2017 to include munitions after Japan eased restrictions on arms equipment transfers.

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang accused the Australian government of taking "provocative and confrontational actions.the Australian side should take concrete actions to correct their mistakes", he said.

"We make no apologies for Australia having foreign investment laws that act in Australia's national interest, for protecting communications networks", he told the ABC on Thursday.

The Prime Minister has declared Australia's democracy "is not up for trade" after China issued a laundry list of sins it says Australia has committed against it, including seeking an investigation into the origin of COVID-19 and speaking up on human rights.

"To what extent the rest members of the alliance will coordinate with the U.S.' suppression on China will be in part determined by the new administrations' specific policies", the paper added.

"We need to keep that strong relationship with China going. Without this, we both lose", he said.

"While we are ultimately reliant on countries acting in good faith, we have to ensure we are doing absolutely everything in our power to secure Australia's continued prosperity through mutually beneficial trade and cooperation". We "expressed serious concerns", read the statement.

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