Arab News Japan
TOKYO: Japan and UK today (February 3) held their fourth Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”) via video conference and affirmed, as global strategic partners, to further enhancing their cooperation toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific in the face.
Japan’s foreign and defence ministers Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi, respectively, participated in the meeting with their UK counterparts Dominic Raab and Ben Wallace.
A Joint Statement issued after the approximately 2 hours’ meeting confirmed the four Ministers’ commitment to continue to provide leadership in maintaining regional security and upholding the rules-based international order, as well as their opposition to attempts to coerce others in the region including by economic means.
They also shared the view that, in light of the UK’s G7 Presidency and COP26 Presidency this year, Japan and the UK would deepen cooperation not only on security and defence, but also in a wide range of areas and take the lead together on international initiatives towards post-COVID-19 new order and rules, the statement said.
The Japanese side welcomed the UK’s announcement of the planned visit by HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group to the region including East Asia this year as an indication of the further commitment of the UK to the Indo-Pacific region. The four Ministers also shared the view to coordinate towards the implementation of joint exercises during this visit, as part of cooperation towards the realization of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, a move is seen by observers targeting China.
The foreign and defence ministers also welcomed the signing of a Maritime Security Arrangement to further security cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the British Royal Navy as well as the steady progress made on the bilateral ground exercise which has taken place in Japan and in the UK to date.
The statement said they will continue cooperation on capacity-building for developing countries in a wide range of areas including maritime security in order to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. They also reaffirmed that they would further promote practical cooperation on monitoring and surveillance activities against illicit ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea-related vessels.
Regarding defense equipment and technology cooperation, the four ministers welcomed the ongoing dialogues on the Future Combat Air System/F-X at subsystem level, emphasised the importance of the research programme for the demonstration of a joint new air-to-air missile and welcomed progress made on the Project for Cooperative Research on the Feasibility of a Japan and Great Britain Universal Advanced RF system, according to the statement.
The four Ministers welcomed progress in other domains including cyber and shared the view that the two countries would continue close dialogues, and further strengthen cooperative relations regarding economic security issues.
Furthermore, the four Ministers exchanged views regarding the response to human security issues, including the global spread of the novel coronavirus disease and climate change, and shared the view to promote fair access to vaccines in response to the disease. On climate change, they confirmed the collaboration towards the achievement of “carbon neutrality” by 2050.
On regional affairs, the four Ministers shared their serious concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea, strongly opposed unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force and confirmed the importance of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law. They also emphasized the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and that all claims concerning maritime rights must be based on relevant provisions of the UNCLOS. From these perspectives, the four ministers also exchanged views on the China’s Coast Guard Law.
The situation surrounding Hong Kong and the human rights situation in Xinjiang was on the agenda of the meeting and the four ministers expressed their grave concerns toward it.
They also confirmed that it is necessary for the international community to act as one towards the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and reaffirmed that the full implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions is essential to achieve this end. The four ministers also shared the view to continue to cooperate closely towards early resolution of the abductions issue.
The Japan-UK foreign and defence ministers affirmed the support of the two countries for the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)” and exchanged views on the situation in Myanmar, the Middle East, and other regions. The statement didn’t those views, the statement said.