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International relations

Japan, Australia sign defense pact to counter China's rise

'Landmark agreement' to raise cooperation; Tokyo also courts U.K., France

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during their virtual signing ceremony of the Reciprocal Access Agreement on Jan. 6.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Thursday signed a treaty to facilitate joint exercises, as they vowed in a virtual meeting to strengthen security cooperation amid China's growing military influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) will facilitate faster deployment of Japanese Self-Defense Forces and Australian Defense Force personnel and ease restrictions on the transportation of weapons and supplies for joint training and disaster relief operations.

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