Shinzo Abe visit: what to expect
Trade and defence are likely to be the focus of the Japanese Prime Minister's visit. Analysis with defence correspondent David Wroe and economics editor Peter Martin.PT12M3S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3bhrg 620 349 July 7, 2014
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Prime Minister Tony Abbott will use a historic visit by Japanese leader Shinzo Abe on Tuesday to issue a veiled warning to Beijing not to let its territorial disputes with neighbours threaten Asia's extraordinary economic rise.
Prime Minister Abe will become the first leader of his country to address Australia's Parliament on Tuesday as the two countries draw closer amid regional instability cause by the rise of China.
Will praise Japan as "an exemplary international citizen" since 1945: PM Tony Abbott. Photo: Getty Images
Mr Abbott will praise Japan as ''an exemplary international citizen'' since 1945.
Noting pointedly that China has risen ''most spectacularly of all'' he will warn that territorial disputes must be resolved peacefully - an apparent reference to Beijing's recent assertiveness in the East China and South China Seas.
''It would be a tragedy for everyone and a disaster for us were these unique achievements to be put at risk … The lesson of the last century is that the countries of our region will all advance together or none of us will advance at all,'' he will say.
The first Japanese leader to address Australia's Parliament: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and his wife Akie Abe arrive in Canberra on Monday night. Photo: AP
Mr Abe will be enthusiastically feted on his historic, three-day visit, during which he and Mr Abbott, with whom he has forged a close relationship, will sign a free trade agreement and a framework deal to share defence technology.
The latter could help pave the way to Australia's buying Japanese submarine technology as a replacement for the Collins Class, a move that would bind the countries strategically for decades to come.
Mr Abe's visit comes just days after his government announced it was reinterpreting the nation's postwar pacifist constitution to allow its military to come to the aid of friendly countries in the event they are attacked.
Mr Abbott welcomed the announcement and is expected to reiterate his support on Tuesday.
The move by the hawkish, centre-right Abe government raised hackles in Beijing, which has been testing Tokyo in the past year with assertive gestures in the territorial stand-off between the two Asian giants over a handful of islands in the East China Sea.
Australia's beef, dairy and sugar industries will be the big winners from the free trade agreement, standing to win hundreds of millions of dollars worth of additional exports.
Talks are expected to cover economic issues before the G20 meeting later in the year, and regional security including China's recent behaviour in the East China and South China Seas, as well as North Korean volatility.
Fairfax Media understands that the Abbott government has held constructive talks with Japanese officials about their widely admired Soryu Class submarine, though any decision is still some way off.
Rory Medcalf of the Lowy Institute said the fact that the two countries were even talking about sharing such technology showed how close the relationship had become.
''This is a conversation that these countries could not even have envisaged having a couple of years ago. In that sense, we've come a long way already.''
Japan is keen to build ''a web of security partnerships in Asia'', including with Australia, as a way to manage China's rise, he said. Australia also stands to benefit from the closer relationship in that a partnership could help stabilise the region.