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Japan PM Abe declares "special relationship" with Australia

Published on Jul 8, 2014 12:54 PM

CANBERRA/TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Australia's parliament on Tuesday that the two nations were launching a "special relationship" of cooperation on areas such as defence after putting aside any lingering enmity from World War Two.

Abe, warily eying China's rapid military buildup and more assertive claims to islands held by Japan in the East China Sea, has been courting governments from Canberra to Southeast Asia in recent months. China is Australia's largest trading partner.

"Today I stand in front of you, who represent the people of Australia, and state solemnly that now Japan and Australia will finally use our relationship of trust," Abe told a joint session, the first such speech by a Japanese leader.

He and Australian counterpart Tony Abbott were to sign an agreement on military equipment and technology transfers, a week after Abe loosened curbs on Japan's military, as well as an economic partnership pact.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) shakes hands with Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott at Parliament House in Canberra on July 8, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
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