LONDON: Japanese Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu, at a Group of Seven meeting in London on Tuesday, expressed serious concern over China’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
At the meeting of foreign ministers from the seven major industrial nations plus the European Union, Motegi also voiced concern over the situation in Hong Kong and human rights issues in the Xinjiang Uighur region, stressing the importance of the international community, including the G7 countries, issuing a unified message over the matters, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Participants also discussed issues in Myanmar. Motegi said that the G7 nations should support and cooperate with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has urged the Myanmarese junta to stop violence against citizens and start dialogue.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, chair of the meeting, proposed applying greater pressure on Myanmar’s military, which seized power through a coup in February, according to the British government.
Britain’s presidency of the G7 meeting “is an opportunity to bring together open, democratic societies and demonstrate unity at a time when it is much needed to tackle shared challenges and rising threats,” Raab said.
The three-day meeting will end on Wednesday with the adoption of a joint communique. The G7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
Also on Tuesday, Motegi held a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G7 session.
He and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas agreed to strengthen their countries’ security cooperation, including through the planned dispatch of a German navy frigate to the Indo-Pacific region.
They also affirmed bilateral cooperation for realizing a free and open Pacific region.
Motegi sought Germany’s cooperation to immediately resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea decades ago. Maas voiced support for the Japanese request.
In a meeting with Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Motegi asked the EU to continue smooth novel coronavirus vaccine exports to Japan. In response, Borrell said that the bloc will work to meet the request.
Motegi praised the EU’s comprehensive Indo-Pacific strategy announced in April, saying that the strategy shows the bloc’s strong will for engagement in the region.
The two shared serious concerns over China’s growing maritime assertiveness and a new law in the country that authorizes Chinese coast guard ships to use weapons against foreign vessels considered by China to be violating its sovereignty.
Motegi and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed to step up cooperation to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. Motegi praised France for leading the EU’s moves to enhance its engagement in the region.
Motegi and Le Drian also affirmed cooperation for the success of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer and the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics and Paralympics.