Ahead of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) meeting on Friday, Japan’s top diplomat in Australia, Yamagami Shingo, said that Canberra is ‘not walking alone’ in dealing with an increasingly aggressive China.
Yamagami signaled Tokyo’s willingness to work closely with the government to counter economic coercion and security threats by Beijing.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review Business Summit on Tuesday, he said: “I can assure you all that Australia is not walking alone because this is something Japan has experienced about 10 years ago.”
“Each and every day Japan is struggling because of … China, and the rise of China, the dramatic increase of defence spending and increasingly assertive, even aggressive behaviour, both in the South China Sea and East China Sea…[It is a] cause of great concern to us,” he added.
Yamagami said Tokyo supported Scott Morrison-led government’s decision to call out China’s unofficial campaign of economic coercion after it slapped restrictions on wine, barley, beef, coal and other products.
He also drew parallels with China’s decision in 2010 to cut off rare earth supplies to Japan because of a dispute over the Senkakus and Beijing’s restrictions on Australian exports, reported Financial Review.
The ambassador’s remarks came as business and political leaders warned they did not expect a thaw in Australia-China tensions in the near term.
On Sunday, Beijing had warned Japan that it would be better if the two countries were friends instead of enemies.
US President Joe Biden will be meeting virtually with his counterparts in the Quad — Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia.
The leaders will discuss ongoing efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region, the statement read from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
China has criticised the framework as an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization seeking to undermine its legitimate rise.