The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, today met with her newly appointed Japanese counterpart, Ms Tomomi Inada, Minister of Defense.
During their meeting, the Ministers affirmed the mutual significance of the Australia-Japan defence relationship. Ministers outlined their respective policy priorities for bilateral defence engagement, including measures to enhance cooperation and engagement between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Australian Defence Force.
Ministers also discussed regional security challenges and expressed concerns over maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Both Ministers expressed strong opposition to any coercive unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions, and urged all states to refrain from large-scale land reclamation, the construction of outposts and the use of those outposts for military purposes. The Ministers also encouraged all parties to resolve disputes in accordance with international law and called on China and the Philippines to abide by the Arbitral Tribunal’s Award of 12 July 2016 in the Philippines-China arbitration, which is final and legally binding. The Ministers expressed their opposition to coercive unilateral actions in the East China Sea that could alter the status quo and increase tensions.
The Ministers strongly condemned North Korea’s nuclear test in January 2016 and its subsequent ballistic missile launches, which were conducted in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
The Ministers committed to work together to explore new opportunities to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation, and emphasised the regional importance of trilateral defence and security cooperation with the United States.
“Australia and Japan are close defence and security partners,” Minister Payne said.
“I was pleased to visit Japan to meet Minister Inada, and confirm the importance of our bilateral defence relationship. I look forward to working with Minister Inada to further broaden and deepen our strong defence partnership.”
During her visit to Japan, Minister Payne also met with a number of Japanese Parliamentarians including Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, a key member of Prime Minister Abe’s Cabinet. At these meetings, the Minister praised the strength of Australia-Japan defence cooperation and welcomed the release of Japan’s 2016 Defence White Paper on 2 August 2016.
Minister Payne said she looked forward to visiting Japan again soon for the annual 2+2 Meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers.
Henry Budd (Senator Payne's office) 0429 531143
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999