AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
TOKYO: Japan and Australia on Thursday signed an agreement that will allow them to share intelligence as the Asia-Pacific region adapts to the rising power of China.
Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and his Australian counterpart Bob Carr met in Tokyo to pen the pact that the two sides hope will boost security ties and safeguard shared secrets.
The deal came just weeks after the US said it would be moving troops from the southern Japanese island of Okinawa to northern Australia on a rotating basis, expanding the US military's reach as Beijing's might grows.
"There is an increasing need to strengthen the security relationship between Japan and Australia," Gemba said in a joint media appearance with Carr, calling the two nations "strategic partners" with shared values.
"This is the fourth such agreement for Japan, after similar deals with the United States, NATO and France," he said.
Carr said the pact was "another key step in building a legal framework for our cooperation".
"It makes sense given our shared values and we are both allies of the United States," he added.