Japan and Germany agreed Thursday to enhance their defense cooperation, including starting negotiations for a military pact for exchanges of supplies and logistical support, Japanese officials said, in the face of increasing military activities by China and North Korea.

The foreign and defense ministers from Japan and Germany also confirmed that they strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to alter the status quo by force in the East and South China seas, the officials said, as China has been criticized for its maritime assertiveness in the waters.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, in the western German city of Munster, while the countries' defense chiefs, Yasukazu Hamada and Christine Lambrecht, joined them online.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi (R) and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock hold talks in Munster, Germany, on Nov. 3, 2022, with Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada (on screen, R) and his German counterpart Christine Lambrecht (on screen, L) joining them online. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Foreign Ministry)(Kyodo)

Tokyo and Berlin now intend to sign a deal like the acquisition and cross-servicing agreement, or ACSA, the officials told reporters after the meeting.

Japan has already concluded an ACSA, which, in general, allows the two sides to share defense capabilities and supplies, including fuel and ammunition, with nations such as the United States, Britain, Australia and India.

Japan and Germany have been deepening their security cooperation in recent years amid growing concern about China's expanding economic and military clout in the Indo-Pacific region.

Germany, which released comprehensive strategy guidelines for the region in 2020, sent three Eurofighter jets to Japan for the first time in September. A German frigate also made a port call in Japan in November last year, becoming the first German naval vessel to do so in around 20 years.

Amid speculation that North Korea is poised to conduct a seventh nuclear test, the first since September 2017, the Japanese and German ministers shared "serious concern" about Pyongyang's high frequency of ballistic missile launches, the officials said.

The ministers also affirmed their close partnership in the defense field as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has brought into focus that the security of Europe is inseparable from that of Asia.

The two-plus-two meeting is the second such occasion for Japan and Germany following the first talks held in April last year in a virtual format.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a two-day foreign ministerial gathering of the Group of Seven nations through Friday in Munster.