Ian Patrick, FISM News
The leaders of Australia and Japan signed a “historic” defense pact on Thursday which they say will aid in the security and defense of the Indo-Pacific from aggressors like China and North Korea.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to sign the Reciprocal Access Agreement. According to the website for Morrison’s office, the “treaty will underpin greater and more complex practical engagement between the Australian Defense Force and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.”
“It will, for the first time, provide a clear framework for enhanced interoperability and cooperation between our two forces,” he added.
The Australian Prime Minister expressed his gratitude on Twitter, in which he said the treaty will “facilitate advanced defense and security cooperation.”
Pleased to sign the RAA with 🇯🇵 PM Kishida @JPN_PMO, a landmark treaty to facilitate advanced defence and security cooperation. Trade, science, emissions reduction technologies, and people-to-people links also underpin our Special Strategic Partnership. pic.twitter.com/45Gai9BS5E
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 6, 2022
The Japanese Prime Minister also expressed his excitement over the agreement on Twitter, further defining what this treaty will mean for his nation and for the world. He named North Korea as an explicit aggressor and implied fighting a further threat from the likes of China by saying the treaty would help insure “a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
We also concurred on cooperating in our responses to North Korea, cooperating further towards realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific, and deepening the cooperation among Japan, Australia, India, and the United States.
Both China and North Korea have been trying to exert their influence over the greater Indo-Pacific area as nearby democratic nations like Taiwan and Western nations push back.
China in particular has been trying to lay claim to the South China Sea, provoking responses from others in the region such as the Philippines. The United States is especially refuting China’s claim to the area and will often send naval ships back and forth to promote openness of the sea.
An issue stemming from both countries is missile testing. China has been flaunting their missile capability through such tests, including a recent one in which they fired on targets shaped like U.S. vessels. North Korea has done the same by firing multiple ballistic missiles into the sea nearby, alarming neighboring countries.
For Australia, this treaty follows another defense pact known as the AUKUS Alliance made along with the United Kingdom and United States in September. FISM News reported at the time that one of the key items in the deal was “bolstering Australia’s nuclear submarine capacity. “