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Japan and Australia sign landmark defence deal to counter China’s growing influence in South China Sea

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison have signed a landmark defence deal in a bid to counter China’s growing influence in the South China Sea and over the Pacific island nations.

Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) comes weeks after foreign ministers of the Quad alliance, which includes the US and India, met in Tokyo. The pact allows Japanese and Australian troops to visit each other’s countries and conduct training and joint operations. Australian Prime Minister said that the treaty will strengthen their security ties and facilitate cooperation between defence forces.

The joint statement said, the two sides also agreed on the need for a framework to allow Japanese military to protect Australian forces if needed.

It also expressed serious concern about the situation in the South China Sea and reconfirmed their strong opposition to any coercive or unilateral attempts to change the status quo and thereby increase tensions in the region.

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