Japan and Australia forge military alliance to counter China

Visiting Forces Agreement likely to be signed next month

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) meeting Australia's then-Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (center), in Japan last January.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) meeting Australia's then-Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (center), in Japan last January. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Japan and Australia are preparing to sign a military agreement allowing for expanded cooperation within each other’s borders as a counterweight to China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific, reports said Friday.

The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia met in Sydney on Wednesday, with media mentioning the two countries were edging closer to a Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which might be signed next month when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Australia.

Talks for a VFA have been on the way for four years, and it is expected to be implemented by the end of 2019. The two air forces were planning to hold joint exercises next year, the Liberty Times reported.

The closer cooperation between the two countries has been seen as a response to the increased aggressiveness of the Chinese, due to their forays into the South China Sea and close to Japan.

The VFA with Australia, which regulates the details of drills held in each other’s country, including the importation of weapons and ammunition, would be Japan’s first.