March 11, 2007


Former foe now close ally (Greg Sheridan, March 12, 2007, The Australian)

THE Howard Government deserves credit for producing the Joint Declaration on Security - a milestone in the Australia-Japan relationship - which Prime Ministers Howard and Abe will unveil in Tokyo tomorrow.

It is a tribute to the pragmatism and vision of both leaders that the two nations, bitter enemies in the Pacific war, have grown so close since the end of World War II.

Despite the hoopla about China, Japan remains easily Australia's largest export market and Asian trade partner. It would have been a good thing had Canberra and Tokyo been able to sign a formal security treaty. However it is likely this will come later.

One process that has greatly intensified Australia-Japan co-operation is the trilateral security dialogue involving Japan, Australia and the US.

Deep ties with our democratic friend: Australia and Japan share long and prosperous relations (The Australian, March 12, 2007)
A JOINT security declaration between Australia and Japan and the setting of a date for formal talks to begin on a Free Trade Agreement are welcome demonstrations of the close ties enjoyed by regional allies unified by their shared commitment to democratic ideals. Concern that forging closer defence and trading ties with Japan risks undermining the full potential of Australia's engagement with China are misplaced. It ignores the evidence of Australia's demonstrated ability to extend its already deep links with China while simultaneously strengthening ties with our most important ally, the US, as well as India, Indonesia and Japan. Australia's long-term best interests lie in building the deepest possible relations with as many of the world's major current and emerging economies as possible.

Mr Howard's historic visit this week to Tokyo highlights the closeness of the relationship between Australia and Japan. The closer defence ties and trade talks mark the 50th anniversary year of the signing of the post-war Australia-Japan trade pact which has transformed the economies of both countries. Mr Howard's visit is an important precursor to the official start of talks for a free trade agreement set for April 23.

Critics are right that America is divisive, they just don't get that there really is an us and a them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 11, 2007 9:11 AM
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