Sydney, Australia, Oct 22 (EFE).- The prime ministers of Australia and Japan on Saturday signed a new joint security declaration aimed at strengthening defense cooperation towards a “free and open” Indo-Pacific in the face of China’s rise in the region.
“Together we are accelerating each other’s efforts to realize a stable, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Anthony Albanese said during the signing of the agreement with Fumio Kishida in Perth.
The Australian leader added that the declaration would “serve as a compass for our security cooperation for the next decade.”
The agreement, which replaces the previous declaration signed in 2007, ”recognizes the contemporary security context, and will expand and strengthen cooperation across defense, intelligence sharing, energy transition, climate change, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, health security, maritime security and economic security,” a statement from the Australian leader’s office said.
“It reflects a deep and shared commitment to pursuing and realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient. Both countries commit to consult each other on contingencies that may affect their sovereignty and regional security interests, and consider measures in response,” it added.
Before departing for Perth on Friday, Kishida had said that defense and security and achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific would be two key points on the agenda.
The defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific is a strategy promoted by Tokyo and Washington to contain China’s growing military capabilities in the region. It is also one of the pillars of the Quad alliance, made up of Australia, Japan, India and the United States.
This is the third face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Albanese took office in May and comes at a time when the two countries seek to strengthen security alliances to face growing challenges.
Among them are Japan’s territorial disputes with China and deteriorating ties of both countries with Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
The agreement builds on the “foundations of significant trade, investment, defense and security ties, the deep affinity between peoples, and shared values of democracy, human rights, free trade and a rules-based international order,” the statement from Albanese’s office said. EFE