National

Abe and Modi agree to boost defense cooperation

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian leader Narendra Modi have agreed to promote defense cooperation amid China’s growing military presence in the region.

On the sidelines Monday of regional summits in Thailand, they discussed plans to sign an acquisition and cross-servicing agreement when Abe visits India in late December, the Foreign Ministry said.

The pact would enable the two countries to share defense capabilities and supplies, including fuel and ammunition.

Japan and India have been seeking to hold the first meeting involving their foreign and defense ministers by the end of this year.

Before meeting with Modi, Abe and his Thai counterpart, Prayut Chan-ocha, confirmed that they will continue to work together closely on regional affairs, ranging from North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments to the South China Sea, to which some ASEAN members have overlapping territorial claims with China.

Prayut told Abe that Thailand is considering joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, according to the ministry. Japan played a leading role in sealing the 11-member TPP after the United States withdrew from it in 2017.

Thailand, this year’s rotating chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, hosted a series of summits Sunday near its capital.

Separately, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Abe the city-state will lift remaining restrictions on food imports from Fukushima, which were introduced in the wake of the 2011 nuclear crisis, on condition that Japan conducts pre-export safety inspections.

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