Australian FM to visit Japan on whaling issue

20:40, May 17, 2010      

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Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Monday he is to visit Japan this week, as debate has raged around a compromise proposal on whaling.

"Australia and Japan have made significant progress in developing our security relationship in recent years," Smith and Defense Minister John Faulkner said in a statement.

"Australia's and Japan's comprehensive economic, security and strategic partnership, built on shared goals, values and interests, represents an important contribution to peace, security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," the statement said.

An international proposal which would legalize whaling, while putting a cap on the number of whales which could be killed, has sparked controversy.

The matter will come to a head next month when the International Whaling Commission (IWC) debates the compromise proposal, which Australia does not support.

Australia vigorously opposed Japan's annual summer whale hunt in Antarctic waters.

In Japan, Smith and Defense Minister John Faulkner will hold talks on international security developments and deepening defense and security co-operation with Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Katsuya Okada and Minister for Defense Toshimi Kitazawa.

This will be the third Australia-Japan foreign affairs and defense ministerial consultations with talks taking place on Wednesday and Thursday in Tokyo.

Source: Xinhua


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