SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida agreed on Saturday to strengthen security ties between the two U.S. allies as part of China’s push for greater influence in the Asia-Pacific region .
At the annual Australia-Japan leaders’ meeting, held in Western Australia’s capital Perth, the pair signed a security co-operation agreement updating a 2007 pact, to respond to a changed regional security environment.
As part of the Enhanced Security Partnership, Albanese said the Japanese military would train and train in northern Australia alongside Australian Defense Force personnel.
At their fourth summit since Albanese took office in May, they said the deal would serve as a “compass” for security cooperation for the next decade. They agreed to consult and study responses to emergencies that could affect regional security.
Albanese and Kishida also discussed climate change, expressing support for a regional transition to net zero carbon emissions and boosting investment in clean energy technologies.
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“Our two countries are committed to achieving net zero by 2050,” Albanese told reporters after a signing ceremony.
Among those efforts, the leaders agreed to help build secure supply chains between the two countries for “critical minerals, including those needed to build the green technologies of the future,” Albanese said.
“This partnership means we’re building secure supply chains, encouraging investment, growing Australia’s domestic sector and ensuring Japan’s advanced manufacturers have the critical minerals they need.”
As well as creating a framework for secure supply chains, the partnership would promote information sharing and collaboration, including research, investment and business deals between critical Japanese and Australian mining projects, the minister said. Australian government in a statement.
Kishida told reporters that signing the updated joint security declaration was one of the biggest achievements of his visit.
“I expressed my determination that all necessary options for the defense of our country, including the so-called counterattack capability, be considered and that Japan’s defense capability be fundamentally strengthened over the next five next few years, which is supported by Anthony,” he said. .
The Japanese leader said the two nations had worked to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific in “an increasingly severe strategic environment”.
“Through this experience, the ties between Japan and Australia have been greatly strengthened. And our two countries have become the central pillar of cooperation between like-minded countries,” he said.
Australia is a major supplier of iron ore, coal and gas to Japan. Holding the meeting in Perth, 3,700 km (2,300 miles) from the national capital Canberra, was intended to show the importance of Western Australia in meeting Japan’s energy needs, including renewables. The state is also a key source of beef and wheat for Japan.
“Prime Minister Albanese told me that Australia intends to remain a reliable partner and a safe destination for investment. We have agreed to further strengthen our cooperation in the areas of energy and natural resources” , Kishida told reporters.
A stable energy supply is increasingly critical for resource-poor countries like Japan, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the risk of supply disruptions.
Canberra and Tokyo have recently strengthened their security ties in response to China’s growing military strength in the region. In May, Kishida and Albanese pledged to work on a new bilateral declaration on security cooperation.
A previous joint statement highlighted security cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism and North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs. In 2014, the two countries elevated their relationship to a “special strategic partnership”.
(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; Editing by William Mallard)
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