Posted: 29 December 2012 1349 hrs
Shinzo Abe. (AFP/Yoshikazu TSUNO)
TOKYO: Japan's hawkish new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to expand the Japan-US security partnership to Australia and India as it faces a bitter territorial row with China, a newspaper reported Saturday.
"The Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone," Abe, sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, said in an interview with the mass-circulation Yomiuri Shimbun.
"It's good to expand it to security co-operation among Japan, the United States and India. (Co-operation) among Japan, the United States and Australia will also contribute to stability in the region," Abe said.
"It is important to regain the region's power balance," he added without elaborating.
Abe won conservative support in national polls earlier this month with forthright pronouncements on the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, vowing not to budge on Japan's claim to them.
China also lays claim to the island chain, which it calls the Diaoyu.
Beijing has sent ships into the islands' waters many times since Tokyo nationalised the chain in September, with analysts saying China intends to prove it can come and go as it pleases.