Japan, Australia to boost security ties

Tokyo, Dec 19 (IANS) The leaders of Japan and Australia have agreed to strengthen trilateral security cooperation with the US, a media report said on Saturday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, in Tokyo on Friday. This is Turnbull’s first visit to Japan since taking office in September, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Abe said the special relationship between Japan and Australia plays a central part in the peace and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region.

With China’s development of artificial islands in the South China Sea in mind, the two leaders agreed to call for the suspension of large-scale reclamation and construction work and the restriction of military use.

Abe and Turnbull also agreed to deepen trilateral security cooperation with the US. They also confirmed that steps will be taken to sign a treaty that simplifies procedures for the entry into each other’s countries for joint drills or disaster response.

Meanwhile, Turnbull conveyed his deep disappointment over Japan’s intention to resume research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean. Abe asked for his understanding, saying the activity is intended to manage marine resources.

Turnbull expressed his nation’s readiness to work for further bilateral prosperity, saying Japan and Australia share the same values.

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