Tenth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”)
On December 9, commencing at 6:00 p.m. for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr. HAMADA Yasukazu, Minister of Defence of Japan, held the tenth Japan-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting with the Hon. Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of the Commonwealth of Australia and Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of Australia in Tokyo. The overview of the meeting is as follows. A Joint Statement was issued after the consultations.
At the outset, Minister Hayashi stated that Japan and Australia, which share fundamental values and strategic interests, have been working closely together to realize a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" and have developed into core component for the cooperation among like-minded countries. Minister Hayashi also stated that following-up on the outcomes of the Japan-Australia Leaders’ Meeting, including the "Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation" between the Foreign and Defence Ministers, just over a month after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's visit to Australia in October shows the strong commitment of Japan and Australia to the security and defence cooperation between the both countries. Minister Hamada showed the recognition that with the issuance of the Declaration, security cooperation between Japan and Australia is now ready to move forward into the next era, and he expressed his intention to explore ways to improve the effectiveness of defence cooperation between the two countries.
2. Regional and global issues
The four Ministers discussed regional and global issues based on the common understanding among the leaders and confirmed that the strategic assessment of both sides is very close.
- (1) The four Ministers strongly opposed to unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Sea. The four Ministers also reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
- (2) The four Ministers concurred that North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches with unprecedented frequency and manner are a clear and serious threat to the international community, and that they would continue to work closely together on the response to North Korea, including the nuclear and missile issues and the abductions issue.
- (3) The four Ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine and shared the willingness to continue to work together on sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine. The four Ministers reaffirmed that they are seriously concerned about Russia’s nuclear threat, that it is absolutely unacceptable and that Russia should never use nuclear weapons. The four Ministers reaffirmed that the international community will not allow this to happen and will continue to work closely with like-minded countries.
- (4) The four Ministers discussed the situation in Southeast Asia and concurred that Japan and Australia will strengthen cooperation to promote further cooperation with ASEAN, while supporting ASEAN-centricity and unity and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). The four Ministers also discussed the Pacific Island countries and reaffirmed their commitment to deepening cooperation in the Pacific Island countries, including cooperation with the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and support for the implementation of the “The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent."
3. Implementation of the "Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation"
The four Ministers concurred to identify bilateral cooperation that should be implemented as soon as possible, and to implement it promptly.
- (1) Japan-Australia cooperation in diplomatic front
The four Ministers confirmed that Japan and Australia will strengthen cooperation in the Southeast Asia and the Pacific Island countries as areas of focus for both countries. In particular, with the Pacific Island countries, in addition to cooperation in areas such as maritime security capacity building and infrastructure development, The four Ministers concurred to strengthen cooperation in economic security, including responses to economic coercion, in the cyber field, including assistance in capacity building, and in the civilian space field, utilizing the satellite capabilities of Japan and Australia, in view of the vulnerabilities faced by the Pacific Island countries.
- (2) Japan-Australia cooperation in defence front
The four Ministers concurred to share their views on the current situations, challenges and objectives of defence cooperation, and to deepen discussions toward more operational Japan-Australia cooperation.
4. Strategic response to regional issues
The four Ministers confirmed that they will further discuss the direction of Japan-Australia cooperation against the background of the ongoing process of reviewing of strategic documents in Japan and Australia.
- (1) Minister Hayashi and Minister Hamada stated that, as the security environment around Japan has become increasingly severe, they are proceeding to formulate a new National Security Strategy and will strengthen Japan's diplomatic and security role to ensure peace and prosperity. The four Ministers then reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen security and defence cooperation between Japan and Australia. Minister Hayashi and Minister Hamada also reiterated Japan’s support for the Australia-UK-US security partnership, AUKUS, the development of which will contribute to regional peace and stability.
- (2) The four Ministers concurred to vigorously promote security and defence cooperation between Japan, Australia and the U.S., which is essential for regional stability. The four Ministers discussed the multilayered cooperation of like-minded countries, including Japan-Australia-India-U.S, in which Australia will host a leaders’ meeting next year, and confirmed that Japan and Australia will play a leading role in their efforts.