Tokyo, Sep 17 (EFE).- Japan on Friday welcomed a historic defense pact between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom (AUKUS), which includes the development of nuclear-powered submarines for Canberra.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference that Japan welcomed the cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia and the establishment of AUKUS to strengthen engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.
This is the country’s first official pronouncement on the pact.
Motegi also welcomed the increased presence of European countries such as the UK and France in the region, citing their participation in joint maneuvers and the recent docking of military vessels in Japan.
His remarks came after a telephone conversation earlier in the day with his Australian counterpart, Marise Payne, in which she updated him on the pact.
The agreement, announced on Wednesday, strengthens mutual cooperation on advanced defense technologies, including artificial intelligence, submarine systems and long-distance monitoring, and is aimed at countering China, which has been stepping up military activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
The announcement of AUKUS came a week before a meeting of Quad (an alliance formed by the US, Australia, India and Japa) leaders to be held in Washington on Sep. 24, where the countries hope to boost cooperation, according to Motegi.
China said on Thursday that the defense pact “gravely undermines regional peace and stability, aggravates arms race and hurts the international non-proliferation efforts.”
The agreement has also not been well received by France after Australia announced that it would scrap a $66 billion French submarine deal in favor of US nuclear-powered submarines. EFE