Successful 2+2 Australia-Japan Meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers
Joint media release - Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Australian Minister for Defence
19 May 2010
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith, and the Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today met with their Japanese counterparts, Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada and Minister for Defense Toshimi Kitazawa, for the third 2+2 Australia-Japan Meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers.
The meeting was an important reaffirmation of the comprehensive Australia-Japan strategic, security and economic partnership.
Following the meeting Senator Faulkner signed the Australia-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) and supporting Procedural Arrangement with his Japanese counterparts. The ACSA is only the second ACSA signed by Japan - the first, with the United States, was signed in 2004. The agreement highlights the growing strength of the Australia-Japan defence partnership.
"The ACSA is symbolic of a new stage in our bilateral defence relationship", Senator Faulkner said. "The agreement will enable mutual logistical support, which will allow Australia and Japan to work together more closely in areas such as training, peacekeeping, humanitarian relief and disaster response."
Significant progress has been made on other aspects of security cooperation, including joint defence exercises, negotiations on information security and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
"Strategic cooperation with Japan has never been stronger", said Mr Smith. "Our enhanced collaboration on nuclear non-proliferation, including the joint package of measures presented to the recent NPT Review Conference, represents a vital contribution towards our shared vision of a world free of nuclear weapons".
The Ministers also agreed to prioritise negotiations toward a legally binding agreement on information security. Such an agreement will facilitate the improved exchange of classified information between the two countries.
Productive discussions were also held on global and regional strategic issues, including developments on the Korean Peninsula, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and in relation to Iran's nuclear program. Ministers expressed their grave concerns about the sinking of the ROK navy vessel the Cheonan.
The Ministers confirmed the importance of their respective alliances with the United States and underlined the positive contribution to the peace and stability in the region that trilateral Australia-Japan-United States strategic cooperation provides.
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