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Oct 25, 2022 / 17:34

Discovering "natural partners"

By becoming natural partners, Australia and Japan have positioned themselves in the Indo-Pacific and the world for now and in the future.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida became the first head of the Japanese government to visit Australia since 2018. He meets with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the Australian city of Perth.

 Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Photo: VNA/AFP

Many topics were on the agenda, including energy security, rare earth, mining, and climate change. But the most important outcome of the Australia trip for Japan's Kishida was, according to his own words,the signing of the new bilateral cooperation agreement on security.

This is the basic update of the security pact signed in 2007 between the then prime ministers of Japan, Shinzo Abe, and Australia, John Howard, on the basis of which a special bilateral strategic association was established in 2014. The new security agreement includes new norms, enhanced qualities, wider fields of maneuver and visionary goals for both in the Indo-Pacific, as well as in today's world. Despite not specifically naming China as its main rival, this new security pact has been perceived worldwide as an effort by Australia and Japan to harmonize their policies toward China and cooperate to confront China in the Indo-Pacific. 

This pact played a very decisive role in both redefining their common strategic and long-term interests and objectives, and in identifying ways and means to achieve them. Japan and Australia have found themselves to be natural partners.

These words sound good, but they can be understood and explained differently. In the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation between Japan and Australia, signed by the two prime ministers in Perth, the specific contents of their natural partnership have been set out as follows "significant trade, investment, defense and security ties, the deep affinity between our peoples and our shared values of democracy, human rights, free trade and a rules-based international order." It can be seen that there are two types of natural partners: born natural partners and man-made natural partners. Not being natural partners of the first kind, Australia and Japan would now like to become natural partners of the second kind. 

They discover it just now because they realize that they are on the same boat on the same ocean sailing to the same horizon. They need their natural partnership to successfully deal with all challenges of modern times, including and especially those from China, to establish and increase their roles, influences, and postures in world politics and the Indopacific. This partnership is unique among all 4 Quads members, therefore could be highly beneficial for them even in the Quads. By becoming natural partners for each other, Australia and Japan have been positioning themselves in the Indopacific and the world for the time being and ahead.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Hanoi Times.