Senior defense officials from the three nations of Japan, Australia, and the United States reached an agreement on Saturday to create an action plan on boosting their mutual military cooperation. Shu Watanabe, Japan’s Vice Defense Minister; Leon Panetta, U.S. Defense Secretary; and Stephen Smith, Australia’s Defense Minister, were all in Singapore as part the Asia Security Summit conference, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
The plan of the three nations is to ensure security in the Asia-Pacific region by working together in solidarity. They view that the region has been on alarm recently after arguments of territory in the South China Sea, as well as the rocket launch by North Korea back in April, which many nations believed to have really been a long-range missile test. While there are many details that will have to be worked out over time, the officials from the governments of Tokyo, Washington, and Canberra stated they would work together on conducting joint military exercises.
Earlier in the summit on Saturday, Panetta stated that the U.S. already had plans to increase its naval presence in the Asia-Pacific seas. Part of its defense strategy for the region involves deploying new forces, and relocating existing ones, such as a large amount on the Japanese island of Okinawa that are set to be moved in the coming years. This is done in effort to increase the U.S.’s mobility and defense options to counter the increasing displays of power in the region by China and North Korea. Both Japan and Australia were supportive of the U.S.’s intentions.