HIS EXCELLENCY MR SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN:
I’d like to welcome from the bottom of my heart, the visit of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Australia is our special strategic partner, sharing with us basic values and strategic interests such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Today we were honoured by the presence of Malcom at the Special Meeting of our National Security Council where, Malcolm and I agreed to in house collaboration and cooperation for the realisation of free and open Indo-Pacific strategy.
North Korea continues its’ nuclear missile development, presenting unprecedented imminent threat. Bearing in mind the outcome of the Vancouver meeting, Malcolm and I had an in-depth exchange of views and agreed on the necessity to make North Korea change its’ policy by maximising pressure on them with all possible means.
Today Malcolm and I visited Narashino Camp Post of Ground Self Defence Force. Going forward we agreed to strive towards strengthening both quantitatively and qualitatively the joint exercise by Japan and Australia and aim at concluding an agreement at an early as possible timing that would enable smooth mutual visits of the units.
We reaffirmed the close collaboration toward the early signing and entry in force of TPP and the leadership role that we must exercise to this end. We also confirm that we must strive toward concluding or agreeing on the high quality RCEP. I’m very much heartened by Malcolm’s cooperation.
We commend highly the progress in the concrete cooperation in Japan-Australia innovation cooperation including brown coal, hydrogen project and the use of Quasi-Zenith satellite as well as in the LNG project and agriculture. We concur that our collaboration be further promoted.
Furthermore we agreed to cooperate closely towards the success of Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting coming in May of this year.
I’m looking forward to seeing further activation of exchanges between the broad groups of both countries, triggered by the World Rugby Cup next year and Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games coming the year after next.
Well thank you very much Shinzo, you have offered me once again a very warm welcome.
This is my second visit to Tokyo as Prime Minister, my first visit of course was in December 2015 and it is almost exactly a year ago I think, that you were in Sydney. We discussed - as we recalled today - the importance of keeping the TPP train moving as we walked along the cliffs above Sydney Harbor.
Thank you for the magnificent display of capabilities at Camp Narashino today, attesting to the strong cooperation between the Ground Self Defence Force of Japan and the Australian Defence Force and a reminder of the importance of our security and defence cooperation.
We’ve discussed at considerable length the threat posed by the reckless rouge regime in North Korea.
We’ve discussed the importance of ensuring that the economic sanctions are enforced rigorously, so that this regime is brought to its’ senses and stops threatening, in the manner that it does, the peace and stability of the region.
And of course, our relationship is about shared values. It is built on shared values and common interests and we are seeking to achieve the same objective – as you’ve described it – of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
We’ve talked about the free rules-based system in our region, because we both know has been the foundation for the prosperity of all of those decades since the 1970’s.
That peace and stability for over 40 years has been absolutely critical and enabled hundreds of millions of people to be raised out of poverty. Australia and Japan have been contributors to that rules-based order as indeed we have been beneficiaries of it.
We look forward to deepening our cultural and sporting links, through our Australia Now program this year in 2018, showcasing Australian innovation and productivity across Japan. We saw a great example of Australian innovation in the Bushmaster vehicle at Narashino today. And of course our sporting links will only strengthen as we approach the Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics.
So thank you Shinzo for such a warm welcome. You are very true and dear friend of Australia, thank you so much for what you’ve done to continue to strengthen this great relationship. I look forward to spending some time with you tonight and our colleagues, over dinner.