Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, May 5, 2023, 7:03 p.m. Asunción, the Republic of Paraguay
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: From April 29 to today, May 5, I visited five Latin American and Caribbean countries: Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Peru, Chile, and Paraguay. This follows my visits to four Latin American and Caribbean countries in January. On these visits, I was able to deepen Japan’s friendly relations with these countries, who are important partners sharing values and principles.
I had candid discussions in each country on international affairs including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the situation in East Asia such as China and North Korea, and shared the view that we would work together to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
Given the current international circumstances, Latin America and the Caribbean countries, which are rich in minerals, food, and energy resources, are becoming increasingly important. We were able to have significant exchanges of views on measures to strengthen bilateral economic relations with these high-potential countries. Furthermore, I deepened discussions and exchanges with Nikkei people, Japanese descendants who serve as important bridges between Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean in each region. I also held a meeting with Japanese business representatives, and discussed measures to revitalize relations with their respective countries.
In Trinidad and Tobago, I held meetings with Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs Amery Browne and Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Stuart Young. We agreed to further develop the bilateral relationship in a wide range of fields and deepen cooperation in the international arena as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year. We also agreed to further promote bilateral relations through discussions in the task force for next year’s Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year.
In Barbados, I paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kerrie D. Symmonds to further strengthen bilateral relations between our two countries, which have shared values and principles, and to affirm our commitment to cooperate on a wide range of international affairs, including climate change.
In Peru, I paid a courtesy call on President Dina Boluarte and held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ana Gervasi. We agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations in various fields as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. We also affirmed our commitment to cooperate in addressing various international affairs. In addition, I attended the opening ceremony of the Japan Foundation office in Lima, the first Japan Foundation office in Spanish-speaking countries in South America. I expect that the office will serve as a center for cultural exchange.
In Chile, I paid a courtesy call on President Gabriel Boric Font and held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Alberto Leo van Klaveren Stork. In light of the CPTPP with Chile entering into force, we affirmed our commitment to further deepen bilateral relations and cooperation in the international arena, including cooperation on mineral resources and clean energy. In addition, Minister van Klaveren and I signed the Japan-Chile Agreement on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation.
In Paraguay, I held a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Julio César Arriola Ramirez and exchanged views on a wide range of topics, including bilateral relations and cooperation in the international arena. I also made a courtesy call on President-elect Santiago Peña Palacios, who was recently elected, and confirmed that we will continue to strengthen Japan-Paraguay relations with his new administration.
Japan would like to hear a wide range of voices from the international community through such candid dialogues among foreign ministers and apply those views to Japan’s diplomacy, including at the G7 Summit.
That is all from me.
Reporter:What were the results of your visits to Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of strengthening involvement in the Global South as advocated by the government? In addition, you mentioned earlier that you want to connect these visits to the G7 Summit. How do you want to connect the opinions you received at meetings with foreign ministers and other dignitaries to discussions at the G7 Hiroshima Summit?
Minister Hayashi:In the series of meetings with the respective countries, I believe it was extremely valuable that I could share with each country our understanding on the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law, and affirm our cooperation. Holding the G7 Presidency this year, Japan places great importance on hearing a wide range of voices from the international community and incorporating them into G7 discussions. While taking into careful consideration the views that were shared with me in each country during the series of meetings, I would like to take the opportunity to hold robust discussions and further our cooperation with G7 members, starting with the G7 Hiroshima Summit, which will be held in two weeks.
Reporter:I would like to ask about Japan-Paraguay Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Several Latin American and the Caribbean countries have switched their diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China. In your meeting with the foreign minister and your courtesy call in Paraguay, what did you tell the dignitaries about the nature of infrastructure assistance and development finance?
Minister Hayashi:In the meeting with Foreign Minister Arriola, I explained that it is Japan’s policy to state what should be stated and call on China to take responsible actions, while promoting efforts by both sides to establish a constructive and stable Japan-China relationship in which both sides firmly engage in dialogue, including on various pending issues, and cooperate on various common challenges. I also explained that it is important to maintain candid communication with China. We then had a candid exchange of views on the situation in East Asia, and I believe we could deepen our understanding on it. Japan has been cooperating with Paraguay to help the country develop its economic and social infrastructure and overcome its vulnerabilities. During the meeting, I explained that Japan will continue to support Paraguay's development efforts.
Reporter:This is not directly related to your visits, but I would like to ask about the situation in Ukraine. There are various views in the international community concerning the recent drone attack on the Kremlin in Russia, including who carried out the attack and how. What is the Japanese government’s analysis of the current situation? In addition, as the G7 Presidency, how does Japan intend to respond to the matter?
Minister Hayashi:I am aware that on May 3, the Presidential Executive Office of Russia announced that an attempt was made early that day to launch a drone attack on the Kremlin, the official residence of the President of Russia, that the attack was attributable to the Ukrainian government, and that Russia could possibly take countermeasures. On the other hand, we are aware that Ukrainian President Zelensky has denied Ukraine’s involvement in this attack. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an outrageous act that has shaken the very foundations of the international order. We have been calling for an immediate halt to the aggression and the withdrawal of forces back to Russian territory. Under these circumstances, Japan will closely monitor the situation with great concern in terms of its potential impact on the future situation.
Reporter: In your earlier comments, you mentioned that you paid a courtesy call on President-elect Peña in Paraguay. Apparently, President-elect Peña was elected because of his emphasis on relations with Taiwan, so what kind of views did you exchange regarding the situation in Taiwan?
Minister Hayashi:First of all, I would like to congratulate Mr. Peña on his election as Paraguay's next president. Although I must refrain from revealing details on diplomatic communications, I did have a candid exchange of views with President-elect Peña on international affairs, including the situation in East Asia. Going forward, under his new administration, I hope to further strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Japan and Paraguay.