TOKYO: Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun confirmed on Friday that the two nations will cooperate closely on dealing with increasingly strained situations in East Asia.
Among topics discussed at their meeting in Tokyo were North Korea and China at a time when Pyongyang has repeated provocative actions and Beijing is strengthening control over Hong Kong, informed sources said.
Motegi said it is important for Japan and the United States to cooperate to maintain and strengthen “a free and open Indo-Pacific” even at a time when the world is facing the new coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to work together in handling North Korean situations and issues common to the international community under the strong Japan-US alliance,” Motegi said.
Biegun, who is also the US special representative for North Korea, pointed to the importance of closer cooperation as the two countries face new challenges.
He also said he is looking forward very much to having Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a summit meeting of the Group of Seven advanced countries that the United States plans to host in late August.
US President Donald Trump has proposed holding the meeting in person despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Biegun was also to meet with Defense Minister Taro Kono and Shigeru Kimura, secretary-general of the National Security Secretariat, before leaving Japan later on Friday, the sources said.