Tokyo, Oct 21 (EFE).- Japan’s prime minister departed for Australia on Friday for a three-day trip focused on strengthening cooperation on defense amid China’s rise in the region.
Fumio Kishida, who will meet his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, in Perth over the weekend, said that defense and security and achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific would be two key points on the agenda.
Kishida and Albanese are expected to sign a new joint agreement on security during the meeting, which will be their third in-person encounter since the Australian took office in May.
Albanese traveled to Japan at the end of September to attend the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
He also visited Tokyo in May shortly after being sworn-in to attend the leaders’ summit of the Quad alliance, made up of Australia, Japan, India and the United States.
The new joint security declaration that both countries are preparing will replace the previous declaration signed in 2007.
It will echo the need to counter China’s geopolitical rise in the Asia-Pacific, according to Japanese government officials.
The new declaration is likely to include a mention of the defense of a free and open Indo-Pacific, a strategy promoted by Tokyo and Washington to contain China’s growing military capabilities in the region, and which is also one of the pillars of the Quad alliance.
Japan views the alliance as a means to strengthen its security alliances in an increasingly challenging environment amid territorial disputes with China, North Korea’s weapon advances and deteriorating ties with Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.
The Kishida administration is also seeking closer collaboration with the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Kishida said that he will also speak with Albanese about a stable energy supply for Japan at a time marked by the uncertainty generated by the war in Ukraine.
Australia provides about 70 percent of Japan’s coal and 40 percent of its liquefied natural gas imports. EFE