TOKYO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Defense ministers of Japan and Australia agreed Tuesday to deepen bilateral defense ties and strengthen cooperation in joint operations, said local media.
"We would like to make the Japan-Australian ties more substantive and bridge it with the trilateral cooperation between Japan, the United States and Australia," Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said in a meeting at the ministry with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith, Kyodo reported.
Smith said he hopes bilateral defense ties between the two countries will go further.
As for the recent territorial row over a group of islands in the East China Sea that has strained the ties between Japan and China, Morimoto said the problem is how Japan should deal with the arrival of Chinese ships and how it can maintain Japan-China relations in a stable manner.
Smith, speaking at a joint press conference held after the meeting, said he expects a peaceful solution to the dispute based on international law.
During their talks, the two ministers also talked about the planned deployment of 12 U.S. Mv-22 Osprey aircraft at the U.S. Futenma Air Station in southernmost Okinawa Prefecture.
They also exchanged views about the cooperation between Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the Australian military in United Nations peacekeeping missions, as well as ways to beef up partnership in times of major natural disasters.