Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan and Australia agreed Thursday to strengthen their cooperation further in order to put more pressure on North Korea amid increasing tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development activities.
At a so-called two-plus-two meeting of their foreign and defense ministers, the two countries also agreed to keep working together to maintain maritime order and stability based on the principle of the rule of law in the East and South China Seas. The two also called for demilitarizing the South China Sea, where China is increasing its military buildup. This was the first two-plus-two meeting between Japan and Australia since November 2015 and the seventh meeting of its kind.
From Japan, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Tomomi Inada took part. Australia was represented by Defense Minister Marise Payne and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
In a joint statement, the ministers said they condemn in the strongest terms North Korea’s nuclear and missile development activities.
“We have agreed on the significance of closer cooperation among Japan, Australia and the United States, in light of the important roles that the Japan-U.S. and Australia-U.S. alliances play in the Asia-Pacific region,” Kishida told a joint press conference.