Australia to build on ties with 'closest friend' Japan
SYDNEY (AFP) - Foreign Minister Julie Bishop plans to capitalise on Japan being Australia's "closest friend in Asia" by pushing for the conclusion of a free trade deal in a visit next week.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the bold declaration, elevating Japan above China and Indonesia, during the recent East Asia Summit in Brunei and Ms Bishop said she wanted to build on the relationship.
"Our longstanding close partnership with Japan is underpinned by shared values and common interests - a commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and to continued regional stability and prosperity," she said on Friday.
Ms Bishop added that the "timely conclusion" of the FTA was a key priority for Canberra, as well as enhancing cooperation in regional and global forums.