Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 5:20 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The New Biden Administration’s China Policy
Nikkei Shimbun, Kato: I would like to ask about the China policy of the new Biden administration of the United States. In her press conference on January 25, U.S. Press Secretary Psaki stated that the approach to China would be the same as it has been for the last few months. On the other hand, she also stated that the approach would be taken with “strategic patience.” The term “strategic patience” was used in the past for policies on North Korea during the Obama administration, where it has been pointed out that it allowed the development of North Korea’s nuclear missile technology to proceed. What is your analysis of the Press Secretary’s series of statements on China?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly, I would say that U.S.-China relations are quite different now than during that of the Obama administration. There were no trade issues nor competition regarding advanced technology during the Obama administration. There is currently no indication that these issues will be immediately resolved.
However, due to the influence of both the United States and China, this issue affects the entire international community. I hope that constructive discussions continue to be advanced between both countries.
In regard to the term used by Press Secretary Psaki, the United States’ approach to China will probably not change. The approach of strategic competition will not change. Also, it is my understanding that Press Secretary Psaki stated that the United States wants to have consultations with its allies. Japan would like to deepen discussions from a strategic perspective regarding various regional issues with the new U.S. administration.
Detainment of an Opposition Leader in Russia
TV Asahi, Sato: I would like to ask about Russia. Many people have been detained amidst the protests demanding the release of Mr. Navalny. Various developments have occurred such as the statement of condemnation issued by the Government of the United States. During his press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato stated that the Government of Japan is monitoring the situation with concern. Can you please tell us your view and about the response going forward?
Minister Motegi: The Government of Japan is monitoring with concern the situation involving the detainment by Russian authorities of Mr. Navalny, who was the victim of a poisoning case in August 2020, as well as the detainment by Russian authorities of many participants in the protests demanding Mr. Navalny’s release that took place throughout Russia.
Japan calls upon the release of Mr. Navalny as well as the people who were arbitrarily detained while protesting in a peaceful manner.
In addition, we once again request the Government of Russia to ensure transparency and punish the perpetrators of the poisoning case involving Mr. Navalny.