Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Monday, May 3, 2021, 9:43 p.m. United Kingdom
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, I held Foreign Ministers’ Meetings with Secretary of State Blinken of the United States, Foreign Secretary Raab of the United Kingdom, and Foreign Minister Garneau of Canada. At the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, we confirmed that the two countries will further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance based on the outcomes of the recent Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting and the Leaders Summit on Climate. We then held talks on efforts toward realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP), China’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, North Korea, the developments in Myanmar, and other matters.
With regard to North Korea, Secretary Blinken explained about the United States’ review of North Korea policy. We then reaffirmed that Japan and the United States will work closely to ensure the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). Furthermore, I obtained Secretary Blinken’s support toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue. We also reaffirmed the importance of close cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Following the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I held the Japan-UK Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with the United Kingdom, which has the G7 and COP26 presidencies. Japan and the United Kingdom are global strategic partners that share fundamental values. We reaffirmed that Japan and the United Kingdom, which unveiled the “Indo-Pacific tilt,” will cooperate toward the realization of FOIP. Secretary Raab and I also held candid and in-depth discussions regarding our economic relations, global issues such as climate change, and regional situations including Asia.
At the Japan-Canada Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, we confirmed that Japan and Canada will work closely for the peace and stability of the region and the international community and shared the view to cooperate in six areas, including the rule of law, toward the realization of FOIP.
In addition, we just held the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Working Dinner, which is the first event of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting. This was the first time in two years that the G7 foreign ministers held in-person, lengthy discussions. We called each other by our first names, and in such a relaxed atmosphere, we were able to have a very frank exchange of views. It renewed the feeling that “The G7 is back.”
The issues of North Korea and Iran were also raised during the Working Dinner tonight. Regarding North Korea, I led the discussion, and an in-depth exchange of views took place. Secretary Blinken explained the United States’ review of North Korea policy. The G7 shared the view that it remains committed to the goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges and that the full implementation of UNSCRs is essential. I also once again obtained the support of the G7 toward the early resolution of the abductions issue.
For two full days, tomorrow and the day after, the G7 will hold lengthy discussions regarding the urgent issues facing the international community and various regional situations, and from tomorrow evening, we will be joined by outreach countries. I think that today was a good kick-off for these discussions.
Reporter: At your meeting with Secretary of State Blinken of the United States today, the Secretary explained the review of North Korea policy as you mentioned. Press Secretary Psaki stated that this review calls for a practical approach. What is your assessment? The United States has not disclosed the details, and I understand it may be difficult for you to make comments. If possible, I would like to hear your comments.
Minister Motegi: The Government of Japan would like to refrain from explaining the outcomes of the United States’ policy review. The United States has said that its goal remains the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and that efforts will be strengthened to keep its allies safe, including Japan. In the review process, Japan fully informed its views to the United States. Japan supports and welcomes that the United States is taking such steps while giving priority to close cooperation with both Japan and the ROK.
We expect that the United States will implement its North Korea policy based on the outcomes of the latest policy review. Japan and the United States as well as Japan, the United States, and the ROK will continue to work closely together.
Reporter: The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be starting. Could you please tell us the agenda items Japan will be proposing?
Minister Motegi: I believe Secretary Dominic Raab from the presidency country will be managing the overall agenda. I expect discussions will take place on matters such as various regional situations, including China, and efforts toward the Indo-Pacific.
Reporter: I have two questions. Regarding the developments in Myanmar, which is expected to be on the agenda, it has been reported that Japanese journalist Mr. Kitazumi was indicted. Today is World Press Freedom Day. Could you please share your comment in response to this indictment? What actions will Japan be taking toward Myanmar? That is my first question. My second question is related to the novel coronavirus situation. It has been reported that a Japanese national in her 40s who lives in India has died. Do you have any information on this? From the perspective of protecting Japanese nationals, please tell us what measures the Government will be taking for Japanese nationals living in India if you have any intentions.
Minister Motegi: This topic is being dealt with at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The developments in Myanmar is as I have stated before. We will of course make every effort to realize the early release of the Japanese detainee. It is vital that we ensure the safety of Japanese nationals not only in India but also in a variety of other countries from the viewpoint of the novel coronavirus, and we will continue to exert full efforts.