Japan, Australia to hold ‘two-plus-two’ talks with focus on submarines


Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Gen Nakatani will meet Sunday in Sydney with their Australian counterparts, officials said Tuesday, with Tokyo aiming to pitch the advantages of teaming up to build Australia’s new fleet of submarines.

During the so-called two-plus-two security meeting, Kishida and Nakatani are expected to seek an edge over the German and French bids for what Canberra calls its “largest defense procurement program in history.”

To be selected as a partner to develop the submarines to replace the Australian navy’s conventional Collins-class subs, participants in the competitive evaluation process must submit their proposals by the end of this month.

In a speech in Adelaide on Tuesday, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said the co-developer will be selected next year and that it will take three more years to work out the program’s details.

She also said the number of submarines to be built will be unveiled in a defense white paper early next year.

Kishida will visit Australia for four days starting Friday and will also meet one on one with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Nakatani will make a three-day visit from Friday and will hold separate talks with Payne.

Nakatani will later travel to Hawaii and meet with Adm. Harry Harris, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.