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Japan, Australia discuss regional security issues, agree to enhance ties

TOKYO — Japan and Australia on Thursday agreed to strengthen their cooperative efforts to respond to current tensions on the Korean Peninsula as well as boost logistic cooperation between their defense forces.
The so-called "two-plus-two" talks were held in Tokyo between Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and their Australian counterparts, Julie Bishop and Marise Payne.
Japanese officials said that security concerns pertaining to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and its nuclear and missile programs were discussed by both sides, who agreed that they would cooperate with the United States on the issue.
The ministers were also set to discuss the idea of revising a bilateral pact inked in January to extend logistic cooperation between the defense forces of both countries, officials said.
Also chaired for discussion was a possible agreement that would allow for the facilitation of joint exercises by both countries' defense forces on overseas visits to each other.
The reciprocal access agreement is set to be concluded this year, informed sources said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who also met Bishop and Payne ahead of the "two-plus-two talks" Thursday, said that continued cooperation between both countries was important to regional stability.
While Japan does not have security pact with Australia, Abe said the two countries share a strategic partnership.
Bishop said it was Australia's intention to bolster security and trade cooperation as both countries are good friends and share a common regional and global outlook.
In talks a day earlier between Inada and Payne, the pair agreed on joint drills using fighter jets starting next year.
Payne floated the idea of higher level joint drills being conducted by both countries following a potential bilateral defense tie-up between both countries and a trilateral tie up with the United States.
It was also agreed that both countries would step up cooperative activities involving infrastructural projects for countries in Southeast Asia. (PNA)
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Last Modified: 2017-Apr-22 08.00.01 UTC+0800