Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 1:09 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. just now Japan time, I held the ninth Japan-Australia Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”) with an in-depth exchange of views regarding the regional security situation and Japan-Australia security and defense cooperation.
Firstly, we agreed to deepen cooperation between Japan and Australia, “Special Strategic Partners” which share fundamental values and strategic interests, towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” amid the increasingly challenging security environment in the Indo-Pacific region.
We also shared serious concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and agreed to strongly oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. All the four Ministers, including myself, shared concern over China’s Coast Guard Law.
We also confirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and concurred on encouraging the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. Furthermore, we shared serious concerns about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
In regard to North Korea, we agreed on Japan-Australia cooperation toward ensuring North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of all its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges, and toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue. The Australian side completely supported the resolution of the abductions issue.
We shared grave concern about the situation in Myanmar, and concurred that we would continue Japan-Australia cooperation to ensure that the “Five-Point Consensus” agreed upon at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting leads to concrete outcomes, including dispatch of the special envoy and the beginning of dialogue within Myanmar.
Furthermore, we concurred on the importance of Japan-Australia-U.S. and Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) cooperation for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” and shared the view to promote cooperation with like-minded countries including Southeast Asian, European, and Pacific Island countries.
We agreed that Japan and Australia will further strengthen security and defense cooperation based on their shared awareness. We also agreed to expand cooperation in new fields, meaning economic security, space, and cyber space fields. In regard to the reciprocal access agreement between Japan and Australia (“Japan-Australia RAA”), for which there is already an agreement in principle, we agreed to accelerate consultations to address all outstanding tasks to sign the RAA at the earliest possible opportunity.
Japan-Australia security and defense cooperation has greatly developed in recent years, and is a model for cooperation between Japan and other partners. We agreed to further advance specific cooperation to elevate security and defense cooperation between Japan and Australia to a new level.
That is all about the overview.
Reporter: I would like to ask about the RAA. Recently Australia indicated its outlook that the RAA may be concluded within the year. Does Japan have the same recognition?
Minister Motegi: In regard to the timing, although we did not agree on a specific timing, we did agree on the general framework at least during the “2+2” meeting today. We will work to have it signed as quickly as possible. Tasks by working-level officials have already begun, and we discussed accelerating that today.