Malcolm Turnbull shifts language to praise China during Japan trip

The national flags of Australia and China are displayed before a portrait of Mao Zedong facing Tiananmen Square during a visit by Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Beijing

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, have agreed that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is indispensable for safety in Asia.

Turnbull visited the base alongside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a highly unusual honour for a foreign leader and the two are set for a formal summit meeting later in the day.

He said that last time he was in Tokyo he had encouraged the two countries to lead the way in strengthening innovation and the free flow of people, capital and ideas.

Canberra meanwhile has criticised China for constructing "useless buildings" in its pouring of aid into Pacific Island nations.

On North Korea, Turnbull told the press conference, "We've discussed the importance of ensuring that the economic sanctions are enforced rigorously so that this regime is brought to its senses and stops threatening in the manner that it does the peace and stability of the region".

Abe and Turnbull also confirmed an intention to accelerate negotiation of a new security pact stipulating the legal status of military personnel temporarily in the other country for joint exercises, the statement said, adding they will instruct all relevant ministers to conclude the negotiations "as early as feasible".

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On Thursday evening he was expected to attend a special meeting of Japan's National Security Council. "Australia and Japan both seek an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific underpinned by the rule of law, where countries foster dialogue and co-operation and we all reap the benefits of economic integration and connectivity". The two nations clashed over the program in the International Court of Justice in 2014, where Australia successfully acquired a condemnation of Japan's commercial whaling program in conservation zones.

It is against this backdrop that Japan and Australia have vowed to work closer militarily, with their first joint exercise involving fighter jets to be held in Japan this year.

Mr Turnbull talked up his team work with Mr Abe on keeping the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact alive, following the U.S. withdrawal.

At the training ground, the two leaders watched a drill by the Special Forces Group, the GSDF's counterterrorism unit, and boarded an Australian-made mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) armored transport vehicle.

"Abe and I are personally committed to having this deal signed and sealed by March", Turnbull said in a speech in Tokyo. The 11 members agreed on "core elements" of the deal in November when they met in Vietnam.

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