Japan, Australia sign security pact to counteract China
Despite the newly inked pact, an expert claims that both countries don't have the abilities and tools to be involved in global espionage.
In an attempt to counter China's military ability, Australia and Japan agreed on Saturday through a security pact to share sensitive intelligence and deepen defence cooperation.
PMs Fumio Kishida of Japan and Anthony Albanese of Australia signed the accord in the Australian city of Perth, whereby the joint defence forces will train together in Northern Australia, and "expand and strengthen cooperation across defence, intelligence sharing", Australian officials said. This has been ringing bells of an old 15-year-old accord jointly drafted when terrorism and weapons proliferation were prevailing concerns.
Albanese commented that "this landmark declaration sends a strong signal to the region of our strategic alignment", as he praised the accord named "Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation". Kishida said it was a response to an "increasingly harsh strategic environment", but did not refer to China or North Korea by name.
When it comes to global espionage, neither Australia nor Japan have capabilities of overseas intelligence operatives and foreign informants required. Even though Australia's ASIO is only a small size of those organisations, Japan does not come close to an agency equivalent to America's CIA, Britain's MI6 or Russia's FSB.
However, expert and director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Bryce Wakefield stated that Australia and Japan have geospatial capabilities such as electronic eavesdropping tools and high-tech satellites that would come handy in espionage in general.
Wakefield said the agreement indicates Japan's increasing activity in the security arena: "It is a significant agreement in that Japan hasn't overtly worked with partners outside the United States on security," adding: "It may actually end up being a template for cooperation with other countries, for example, the United Kingdom."
AUKUS formed to counter China
The US, UK, and Australia had formed their AUKUS alliance, ignoring China's concerns on the matter. The alliance was based on enhancing Australia's nuclear capabilities through advanced technology and nuclear submarines in order to increase the alliance's strength in the South Pacific as China grows more influential in its region.
This involved Australia canceling a submarine deal it had concluded with France, a move that Paris dubbed a "stab in the back." Consequently, France decided to recall its ambassadors to the United States and Australia. The row soured the three countries' relationship with Paris.
The US and UK agreed, under the aggressive anti-China, anti-Russia AUKUS pact, will supply high-end technology to Australia so that it can design and manufacture advanced nuclear submarines of its own.
Criticisms have been surfacing, condemning Australia for merging its military activities with the United States, particularly its nuclear activities, despite being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).