• Kyodo News

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The foreign and defense ministers of Japan and Australia reaffirmed their cooperation Wednesday on enhancing bilateral security ties and addressing global concerns, including the North Korean nuclear threat.

At the inaugural Japan-Australia “two-plus-two” top security talks in Tokyo, the four ministers also confirmed the importance of strong, continued trilateral cooperation with the United States, according to their joint statement.

Japan was represented by Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Defense Minister Fumio Kyuma, and Australia by their respective counterparts, Alexander Downer and Brendan Nelson, at the Foreign and Defense Ministerial Dialogue at the Foreign Ministry’s Iikura guesthouse.

Australia is the second country, after the United States, to launch a security cooperation framework of this kind with Japan.

In their statement, the ministers said their countries recognize each other as mutual indispensable partners in the region, sharing democratic values and common interests in regional peace and stability.

Against the backdrop of North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests last year, the four “reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate on measures to fully implement” the joint statement of the six-party talks and U.N. sanctions resolutions to denuclearize the North.

They also “reaffirmed the importance of cooperation on humanitarian issues, including the expeditious resolution of the abduction issue,” referring to North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals, a key concern for Tokyo.

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