Japan, Australia eye closer ties in Indo-Pacific

Japan, Australia eye closer ties in Indo-Pacific

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Japan, Australia eye closer ties in Indo-Pacific

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, left, shakes hands with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese

Japan and Australia on Friday stressed the need for close coordination in confronting challenges in the Indo-Pacific region after their respective summits with China, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese also vowed support for Pacific island nations, the ministry said, as China expands its economic presence in the area.

During the meeting on the fringes of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Kishida said Australia forms the core of collaboration with like-minded nations while Albanese described bilateral ties as having “never been stronger,” according to both governments.

The two also agreed to tackle jointly other issues, including the situation in Israel and the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact of which Japan and Australia are members. China wants to join the agreement.

The meeting came a day after Kishida met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which they saw the need to build “mutually beneficial” ties based on strategic interests. The Australian leader visited Beijing in early November.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Albanese acknowledged Japan’s efforts to ease concerns about the ocean discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant by providing scientific data.

“The relationships between Australia and Japan have never been stronger, as emphasized by cooperation across economic issues, critical minerals,” Albanese said. “Our engagement is very comprehensive including on defense and security relations.”