Japan and Thailand sign defense, economic agreement

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wrapped up a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia Monday with an announcement of a new defense agreement with Thailand and plans to improve economic relations between the countries.

The pact, reported by CNN, means a greater transfer of defense technology and firepower from Japan to Thailand. Both nations have a long history of military ties with the United States and large, well-equipped armies.

“This will help improve national defense and support investment from Japan in this activity which is an important goal for Thailand,” Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said in a joint statement, CNN reported.

The U.S. has courted Japan and Thailand in its campaign against Chinese economic and military expansion. Officials in Washington regularly refer to China as America’s “primary pacing challenge.”