Australia and Japan foster stronger ties to counter China

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Perth, Australia, on Oct. 22 | POOL / VIA REUTERS

Australia and Japan are increasing security cooperation as they view each other as having the ability to take join actions in the event of a contingency, particularly in countering Chinese influence.

In October, the two countries issued a joint declaration on security cooperation. They pledged to consider collaborative responses to emergency situations. This reflects their shared concerns over China’s threat to change the status quo unilaterally by force in the Indo-Pacific, The Japan Times reported.

According to the report, in their previous joint declaration, adopted about 15 years ago, there was no language signaling their wariness about the threat of China. Australia’s perception of China has since changed clearly, however, while Japan wants to strengthen its “quasi-alliance” relationship with Australia further to deal with China-related risks in the region.

At a joint news conference following a meeting between Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Perth on October 22, the former said that “this landmark declaration sends a strong signal to the region of our strategic alignment.”

The Japanese Prime Minister, for his part, also highlighted the declaration, saying, “It has substantial content aimed at further deepening our security and defense cooperation.”

Australia and Japan signed a Reciprocal Access Agreement, which stipulates the legal status of Self-Defence Forces personnel and Australian troops while in each other’s territories.

The latest joint declaration said, “We will consult each other on contingencies that may affect our sovereignty and regional security interests, and consider measures in response.”

“Other than our key ally, the United States, Australia has a special status for Japan,” a senior official of the Foreign Ministry said. “In this region, Australia is the only partner that shares fundamental values and policies with Japan and has the ability to take joint actions.”