The chiefs of the UK, Japan and US navies have signed a trilateral cooperation agreement for greater cooperation and partnership.

The agreement was signed by Royal Navy First Sea Lord admiral Tony Radakin, US Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) admiral Mike Gilday, and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) Chief of Staff Admiral Hiroshi Yamamura.

The three leaders discussed maritime issues during a trilateral meeting onboard the Royal Navy’s aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08).

Gilday said: “Today, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen our common efforts, which demonstrates that our relationships are institutional, rather than merely personal.

“This agreement strengthens our naval bonds and codifies our continued dedication to a free and open maritime commons. There is much to celebrate in our trilateral relationship, indeed the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

He stressed on the need for greater cooperation with the UK and Japan to address security challenges and ensure freedom of access to waterways in line with international law.

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The three navies recently participated in two trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Indo-Pacific region.

The trilateral exercise was held in the Western Pacific in March and involved a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft from the US Navy, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose, and the JMSDF’s destroyer JS Murasame and P-1 aircraft.

Radakin said: “In an increasingly interconnected world, partnerships and alliances such as this are vital for protecting the freedoms of the international community. I look forward to continuing to learn from one another, sharing our experiences and exploring where we can pursue our common aims together.”

In 2016, the navies of the three countries inked the first trilateral cooperation agreement during a meeting in the Pentagon.