Japan and Australia kicked off their joint military exercises in Sydney last April 19. The cooperation between the two has finally brought back Japanese warships to Australia’s coast since WWII.
Both countries have expressed their concerns over the increasing activities of the Chinese in the South China Sea region and have since then beefed up military efforts. Although the Nichi Gou Trident exercise has been conducted since 2009, it is the first time that the joint navy operation is held in Australian waters. Australia considers Japan as its closest and most mature partner in Asia.
According to Channel News Asia, the joint operation is a way of showing that the two nations are friends both on land and at sea. Japan’s warships are already in Sydney Harbor. Its submarines, on the other hand, are treading the waters since World War Two.
“The relationship between our two navies has developed consultation and trust … which our predecessors never expected 74 years ago,” explained Rear Admiral Ryo Sakai, Chief of Staff and Japanese commander of the Fleet Escort Force.
“It just continues to build that seamless interaction between ships, to fundamentally work together and engender regional stability,” added Captain Brian Schlegel, the Royal Australian Navy’s exercise director.
“These are first-class ships with incredible technology and likewise our navies are evolving -particularly with the introduction of the Aegis destroyers in the near future. We’re going to see more and more occasions to work with our regional partners.
China, a common aggressor cited by the two nations previously, is also looking for a partner as tensions in the Asia Pacific region rises. It found an ally in Russia. Both Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov said in a statement that they oppose taking the South China Sea dispute internationally, as reported by Xinhua. Rather, the two officials are calling for negotiations and consultation.