Bilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister
Good morning, Minister and welcome to you and your team, for our bilateral meeting today. Let me begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting, the Wurundjeri People and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. It's a great delight to welcome you here Minister, and to have you in Australia, as the first government minister to visit Australia since the victory of the Kishida Government in November. You are very welcome. We had very productive discussions yesterday in the Quad format. I'm looking forward to continuing our bilateral discussion today.
I know that you've been a friend of Australia for very many years, that you have worked tirelessly particularly to conclude our milestone bilateral free trade agreement in 2014. And now we're in a position where the Special Strategic Partnership between Australia and Japan is stronger than ever. The foundations of our trade and investment links and our common values and shared interests are stronger than they've ever been I think. Our focus on democracy, on human rights, on free trade, and an open and resilient Indo-Pacific. I was very pleased, particularly having been both Defence Minister and Foreign Minister to see the reciprocal access agreement signed by the Prime Minister's in January. And that will assist with even closer cooperation between the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the Australian Defence Force as well.
The manifestation of our work together in supporting regional stability and prosperity, I think, has been particularly apparent in our support for Tonga, and it has been an honour and a pleasure to work with Japan. And I want to acknowledge your very substantial commitment to humanitarian support for Tonga at a time of enormous challenge for them in the Pacific. I know that we are both as governments backing in the growth in the transformation of our trade relationship, both as founding members of the CPTPP and the RCEP. We've made history this year between Australia and Japan with the first cargo of Australian-made liquid hydrogen shipped from Victoria here to Japan as part of a world first hydrogen energy supply chain pilot project. We have our work together on cyber, on critical technology, on supply chain resilience. And ultimately, at the heart, I think, of our partnership is the deep affinity between our peoples, between the people of our nations. Relationships that have been forced to work over closed borders and pandemic conditions in the last two years. But still, we remain so close and so well engaged.
We, of course, opened up to Japan as one of our first countries when we reopened our borders in December. And I certainly hope that we will be able to see Japanese tourists returning to Australia when we reopen to international tourists later this month. But you're very welcome, and I look forward to our discussions today.
Thank you, Marise. We had a very good discussion with you, Tony and Jai, yesterday. It really struck me that this level of in-depth discussion is really possible with an in depth, in person meeting not TV or not their phones. I want to thank you, Marise, your staff and the people of Australia for your warm hospitality and a wonderful dinner and conversation last night. Thank you.
As you already mentioned, the signing of the Reciprocal Access Agreement by our leaders last month was extremely significant and when I started negotiating the free trade agreement with Australia, I don't think anyone expected our bilateral relations to be elevated to this height. And also in that same meeting in which the two leaders signed the Reciprocal Access Agreement, the leaders affirmed to further strengthen our Special Strategic Partnerships and to further materialise our commitment to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific.
As we have a lot of fun this morning in light of the discussion between the two leaders, let us today have a candid discussion on how we can evolve our broad-based cooperation including collaboration with our allies and likeminded partners.