Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
Google Play mobile download button
Apple IOS mobile download button
HomeAsiaUK, Japan ink ‘historic’ defense pact

UK, Japan ink ‘historic’ defense pact

'Quick read' news summary

The United Kingdom and Japan have signed a major defense pact, praised as “historic” by the British prime minister but frowned upon by the Chinese government.

The Japan-U.K. Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), signed by Rishi Sunak and his counterpart Fumio Kishida on Wednesday, would allow both countries to deploy forces to the other’s territories and is generally seen as a move to counter China’s rising clout in the Indo-Pacific.

Downing Street said in a statement that the newly-inked pact is “the most significant defence agreement between the two countries in more than a century.”

The U.K. is the first European country, and the second in the world after Australia, to have signed such an agreement with Japan. The deal still needs to pass both countries’ parliaments to take effect.

Sunak said it “cements our commitment to the Indo-Pacific” amid “the unprecedented global challenges of our time.”

In March 2021, London released a new integrated foreign, defense and security policy with a ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific, in which Japan was identified as Britain’s key ally in East Asia.

For his part, Kishida said “Japan and the U.K. are partnering to take on the responsibility of addressing the strategic issues faced by the international community.”

China has not made an outright protest but a spokesman said the U.K-Japan defense pact “should not target any imaginary enemies, still less replicate the obsolete mindset of bloc confrontation in the Asia-Pacific.”

“The Asia-Pacific is an anchor for peace and development, not a wrestling ground for geopolitical competition,” China’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Wang Wenbin

The United Kingdom and Japan have signed a major defense pact, praised as “historic” by the British prime minister but frowned upon by the Chinese government. The U.K. is the first European country, and the second in the world after Australia, to have signed such an agreement with Japan. Sunak said it “cements our commitment to the Indo-Pacific” amid “the unprecedented global challenges of our time.”

Read different perspectives