Japan, Australia agree security pact amid fears over disputed South China Sea

Reuters reports that Japan and Australia agreed on a breakthrough defence pact on Tuesday allowing reciprocal visits for training and operations, and voiced concern over the disputed South China Sea, where China is extending its military influence.

It is Japan’s first agreement covering foreign military presence on its soil since a status of forces agreement in 1960 that allowed the United States to base warships, jets and troops in Japan as part of an alliance that Washington describes as the bedrock of regional security.

According to Reuters’ reporting, the Reciprocal Access Agreement strengthens defence ties between the two U.S. allies at a time when China is asserting its role in the region and the United States is going through a messy leadership transition.

The agreement allows Japanese and Australian troops to visit each other’s countries and conduct training and joint operations and was agreed in principle by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, who is visiting Tokyo.

Read the full article (external link to Reuters website)

Related media coverage:

Suga says broad agreement reached on military pact with Australia (Japan Times)
Australia, Japan to bolster defense ties amid China’s rise (Associated Press)
Australia and Japan agree-in-principle to defence pact that will increase military ties (The Guardian)
China warns Australia and Japan over ‘confrontational’ new defence pact (The Guardian)

Image: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japan’s Prim Minister Yoshihide Suga, Tokyo, 17 November 2020, Reuters original photo