According to the Epoch Times, Australian Prime Minister (PM) Anthony Albanese is set to welcome Japanese PM Fumio Kishida on Oct. 22 in Perth, Western Australia. The two chief executives will announce the new Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation (JDSC) on that date, the outlet added.
The new JDSC is a revision of the old document signed in 2007 by the two nations. Former Australian PM John Howard and the late former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe were the signatories of the original declaration. The JDSC recognized “common strategic interests and security benefits embodied in their respective alliance relationships with the United States.”
The old version of the document included provisions on counter-terrorism and border protection. It also emphasized cooperation over the threat of North Korean missiles. While the old JDSC does not specifically mention China, the updated version recognizes the threat from the communist country.
The two PMs first met in May 2022, with both of them agreeing to work toward a new joint declaration to deepen security ties between the Land Down Under and the Land of the Rising Sun. They also confirmed collaborative efforts in dealing with economic coercion. The endeavor bore fruit in the form of the JDSC.
Kishida had planned to visit Australia in January, but rising Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Japan prompted the trip’s cancellation. Meanwhile, Albanese last visited Japan in late September to attend the state funeral for Abe, who was assassinated in July.
Japan considers Australia a semi-ally, and both countries are part of the Quad security framework – which includes India and the United States.
New declaration answers rising China threat
The JSDC between Australia and Japan appeared to be in response to Beijing inking deals with other South Pacific nations to have a permanent presence near the Land Down Under. In particular, the Solomon Islands has bolstered links with Communist China.
The South Pacific country recently sent 32 officers to China to undergo training in policing techniques and Chinese culture. The officers will stay in the country for one month. Honiara’s other actions – such as denying a port call for a U.S. Coast Guard vessel and inking a major deal with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei – raised red flags in Australia and other nations.
Back in March 2022, a leaked draft security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands revealed the extent of Beijing’s proposed partnership with the country. According to the draft agreement, Honiara would be permitted to “request China to send police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces to the country.” (Related: China set to have PERMANENT presence near Australia via deals with South Pacific nations.)
Moreover, the aforementioned agreement would also permit Chinese vessels to “make ship visits, carry out logistical replenishment and have stopover and transition [operations] in the Solomon Islands.”
In 2019, Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare broke off diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of the mainland. He received about $730 million from Beijing following the move, but also received the ire of Solomon Islanders who believed the money was paid in exchange for their country’s sovereignty. Opposition politicians claimed that Beijing was responsible for funding the prime minister’s political campaign.
Mihai Sora, a fellow at Lowy Institute in Australia’s New South Wales state, remarked that “China is looking to expand its ability to project force around the globe, and the South Pacific is not immune to that.”
“The security cooperation agreement that potentially involves Chinese military assets transiting or basing in the region would have the effect of blocking naval and military assets from other countries like Australia. That would be destabilizing because it would potentially limit the freedom of movement within the Pacific.”
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Watch Japanese Ambassador to Australia Shingo Yamagami reiterate the need for democratic countries to join together against authoritarian regimes below.
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