Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, May 13, 2022, 4:42 p.m. Strandhotel
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Since last evening, I have been attending the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here in Weissenhaus, Germany. This is the seventh G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting this year. It is a three-day G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, as was planned, and I believe we have been able to hold deliberate and candid discussions.
So far, we have had a working dinner last night and four sessions.
At last night’s working dinner, we had a frank exchange of views regarding the situation in Ukraine, including the future outlook. I reiterated my condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and stated that any use or threat of nuclear weapons is unacceptable and that the G7 must coordinate to produce results at this year’s NPT Review Conference, noting on the importance of maintaining and strengthening the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. We, the G7, will continue to unite and support Ukraine and once again urge Russia to cease its aggression against Ukraine and withdraw its troops immediately from Ukrainian territory. In addition, we reaffirmed our determination to increase pressure on Russia, including through further sanctions.
Foreign Minister Kuleba of Ukraine and Foreign Minister Popescu of Moldova also attended the session in the morning. After receiving an explanation from the two foreign ministers, we discussed support for Ukraine as well as its surrounding countries, including Moldova. Foreign Minister Kuleba and Foreign Minister Popescu expressed gratitude and appreciation for the G7’s support and requested its continued support.
During the working lunch, we discussed the international impact on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, such as food and energy issues. In response to rising food and other prices due to Russia’s aggression and its impact across the globe, we confirmed that we will provide support to ensure access to food and energy for all people.
In the afternoon, a session was first held with the virtual attendance of Foreign Minister Retno of Indonesia, which holds this year’s G20 presidency. Foreign Minister Retno explained Indonesia’s ideas toward the G20 meeting this year and also explained Indonesia’s views on the situation in Ukraine and its impact, including food issues. The G7 confirmed to continue maintaining close communication with Indonesia regarding the G20 as well as the issues related to food and energy.
This was followed by a session on the Indo-Pacific. I led the discussions as the lead speaker. I stated Japan’s views on China’s actions in response to the situation in Ukraine, and also raised issues such as the situation in the East and South China Seas, calling for continued G7 coordination. Members expressed concerns and made remarks on various issues surrounding China, including the points I raised.
Regarding North Korea, I expressed Japan’s serious concern over North Korea’s increased nuclear and missile activities, including ballistic missile launches such as yesterday’s launch and the ICBM launch in March, noting that it is a blatant and grave challenge to the international community. I stated the importance of the international community to work together, take firm measures and ensure the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions toward the achievement of North Korea’s complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, and called for close cooperation among G7 members, which was supported by all members.
I also asked for the full understanding and cooperation of the G7 members toward the immediate resolution of the abduction issue and obtained their support.
In addition, we discussed cooperation with Myanmar and ASEAN. For more information, please refer to the press release which will be issued later.
During this evening’s working dinner, we will also discuss responses to the novel coronavirus. For economic and social revitalization and resumption of cross-border travel in developing countries, I would like to announce our intension to provide up to 100 million U.S. dollars primarily to the Indo-Pacific region, which will focus on vaccination data system, border control management, and infectious waste disposal.
The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will continue until tomorrow morning. At the remaining sessions, I would like to continue actively contributing to the remaining discussions.
In between meetings, I held bilateral meetings with Foreign Minister Le Drian of France, Foreign Minister Joly of Canada, Foreign Secretary Truss of the United Kingdom, Foreign Minister Kuleba of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Baerbock of Germany, and Foreign Minister Popescu of Moldova.
My counterparts and I discussed issues facing the international community, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and the strengthening of bilateral relations. I believe we were able to deepen mutual understanding.
That is all from me.
Reporter: At this foreign ministers’ meeting, the conflict over the situation in Ukraine was discussed. Furthermore, you had bilateral meetings with various countries. What kind of results do you think Japan has achieved over the course of these meetings? A Japan-U.S. summit meeting, Quad, the G7 summit meeting, and other meetings will also be held soon. How do you position the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in this context?
Minister Hayashi: As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine continues, the G7 foreign ministers aligned their recognition of the situation through frank exchange of views at this meeting and sought to further strengthen cooperation. This meeting has been a meaningful opportunity to reflect Japan’s views in the G7’s policy coordination and external communications to the world. In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the international community must unite in showing that unilateral changes of the status quo by force are unacceptable and take coordinated measures. We will take into account the results of this G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in preparing for the discussions at the upcoming visit to Japan by President Biden and the Quad leaders’ meeting as well as meetings such as the G7 Summit in June and the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in July.
Reporter: I have a question related to the Indo-Pacific session. I believe the press releases regarding the series of bilateral meetings express Japan’s view that the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific region are inseparable. With regard to responses to China which you briefly mentioned earlier, please tell us if the G7 has shared any view or agreed on any approaches.
Minister Hayashi: As I stated earlier, I was the lead speaker for this session on the Indo-Pacific. The members have significant interests in the Indo-Pacific, including China, and this afternoon’s discussion lasted for about one hour and a half.
I stated Japan’s view on China’s actions related to the situation in Ukraine, expressed grave concern and opposition to China’s continued and reinforced unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, and advocated the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. In addition, in relation to China, I stated Japan’s view that we will not compromise on issues of principle and will clearly assert what needs to be asserted, and called for continued coordination in the G7.
The G7 has a rule not to mention remarks made by other countries, so I will refrain from disclosing their specific statements. The other G7 members also expressed concerns and made statements regarding various issues.
Reporter: During the press conference before leaving Japan, you talked about Japan’s contribution to the G7’s policy coordination and external communication as the only G7 member from Asia at previous foreign ministers’ meetings. As you mentioned, you served as the lead speaker for the Indo-Pacific session. What kind of presence do you think Japan has demonstrated in this discussion?
Minister Hayashi: Taking into account that Japan is the only G7 member from Asia, I explained our view on the situation in Ukraine from an Asia’s perspective. The Prime Minister and I have visited various countries over the past months or so. The Prime Minister, too, has visited various countries and held meetings. I explained that, including such visits, we have been carefully reaching out to various countries.
In the session on Indo-Pacific, I led the discussion as the lead speaker. I raised various issues over China, including the situations in the East and South China Seas, as well as North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles and abductions issue, calling for the continued coordination among the G7 countries, and obtained support from member countries.
Reporter: I have a question regarding Japan’s view expressed during the Indo-Pacific session. As you mentioned earlier, you explained Japan’s view to the G7 members regarding China’s actions in response to the situation in Ukraine. What view did you convey exactly?
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from disclosing the details of our candid diplomatic discussions. That said, the G7 members have significant interest in China’s actions over the situation in Ukraine, and we had a frank exchange of based on the recognition that we need to urge China to take responsible actions.
Reporter: Please let me confirm this. I believe you explained that members expressed their concerns about various issues over China. Am I correct to understand that the G7 concurred to take coordinated measures for these issues?
Minister Hayashi: As I stated earlier, members expressed concerns and made statements regarding various issues over China, including the points I raised. The final communique will be released at the end so please refer to it for the summary of the G7 for more details.
Reporter: I would like to ask a question regarding the session attended by Indonesia. I understand you have explained about Asia’s view. However, even within Asia, there are differences in view among the ASEAN members or between the G7 and the G20. Please tell us what specific discussions took place during this session and whether there was any exchange of views regarding President Putin’s attendance.
Minister Hayashi: Foreign Minister Retno of Indonesia explained Indonesia’s view regarding the G20 meeting as the presidency. We conveyed that the G7 will support Indonesia’s presidency to the best of its ability to ensure a successful G20 meeting, and confirmed with Indonesia to maintaining close communication on various issues, including Russia’s participation in the G20.