Japan and Australia to hold 2+2 dialogue

Australia’s foreign and defense ministers will meet their Japanese counterparts today in Tokyo for a so-called “2+2″ meeting. The meeting

The flags of Japan and Australia

The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia will meet today in Tokyo for a “2+2″ meeting largely focusing security cooperation – Photo: Nikkei Asia

Australia’s foreign and defense ministers will meet their Japanese counterparts today in Tokyo for a so-called “2+2″ meeting.

The meeting will likely center around the implementation of a recently signed security agreement between the two countries that covers intelligence sharing, defense cooperation and economic, energy and climate security.

In January, the two countries signed a full defense pact that codified procedures for stationing soldiers in each other’s territory and increased their interoperability for humanitarian and defense work. In March, Australia announced a planned 30% increase of its military to a total of 80,000 personnel by 2040. Japan and Australia’s mutual rival China has increased its naval presence in key international shipping lanes this year, including holding a massive military exercise off Taiwan that both Japan and Australia condemned.

The meeting will likely lead to tactics, techniques and procedures for mutual security operations such as freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and protecting trade routes in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Japan will likely push Australia to deepen other ties, particularly in energy commodities like liquid natural gas and coal. If China grows more aggressive in the coming decade, Japan and Australia’s defense ties may transform into a formal military alliance.