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Japan and Australia strengthen quasi-alliance with eye on China

Reciprocal Access Agreement paves way for more joint drills in Indo-Pacific

Officers from Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force and the Australian Army coordinate plans during last summer's Talisman Sabre joint exercise in Australia. (Photo courtesy of Australian Department of Defense)

TOKYO -- The defense agreement signed Thursday by Japan and Australia smooths the way for joint drills by their armed forces with an eye on China, marking Tokyo's first pact of its kind with a nation other than its ally, the U.S.

Concerns over China were underscored in the statement issued by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison after their virtual meeting.

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