Australia, Japan to sign free trade, defense dealsBy AP News Jul 08, 2014 1:37PM UTC
SYDNEY (AP) — Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe is meeting with his Australian counterpart to sign agreements bolstering defense and trade ties between the countries.
Tuesday’s defense deal comes a week after Japan’s government reinterpreted the nation’s pacifist constitution to allow greater use of its military to defend allies.
Abe wants Japan to have a larger role in global security amid China’s growing military might. The policy shift drew criticism from Beijing, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute with Japan.
That leaves Australia in a delicate situation because China is its largest trade partner. Prime Minister Tony Abbott sought to downplay any suggestion that Australia’s deal with Japan is a slight against Beijing. He noted in a speech to parliament that Australia’s partnership with Japan “is not a partnership against anyone.”