Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, August 5, 2022, 7:13 p.m. Phnom Penh
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have attended series of ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings here in Phnom Penh. Yesterday, I attended the ASEAN-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Today I attended the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting. In addition, I had meetings with the foreign ministers of Cambodia, which is holding the ASEAN Presidency, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Pakistan, Timor-Leste, and Brunei, as well as the current Secretary-General and the next Secretary-General of ASEAN. I also held a U.S.-Australia-Japan Trilateral Security Dialogue. I would like to make two points related to these meetings.
Firstly, the fact that the ballistic missiles launched by China yesterday fell into the seas near Japan, including our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a grave issue that could affect the security of Japan and the safety of our people. Japan strongly condemns China’s actions, and strongly requests that China immediately suspend series of military exercises. During the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, including the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting yesterday as well as the EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ARF Ministerial Meeting today, I once again clearly stated Japan’s position. Many of the countries expressed concerns about the situation in Taiwan.
In addition, yesterday Secretary of State Blinken of the United States and I agreed to strongly condemn China’s ballistic missile launches and confirmed continued close cooperation for regional peace and security. Furthermore, we held the Japan-United States-Australia Trilateral Security Dialogue and affirmed close cooperation. I also clearly explained Japan’s position during bilateral meetings with various countries.
Secondly, during the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, I explained Japan’s cooperation with ASEAN, including assistance for COVID-19 countermeasures, and emphasized that we will continue to steadily promote specific cooperation in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). In response, various ASEAN countries expressed their gratitude and expectations for Japan’s extensive support.
Furthermore, we concurred to continue working in close coordination to set out a new vision for future ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation during the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation next year. During the Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I announced the 50th anniversary logo design and catchphrase “Golden Friendship, Golden Opportunities.”
Regarding regional and international affairs, I clearly stated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is against international rules, and such unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are absolutely unacceptable anywhere in the world, including Asia. In addition, I firmly explained Japan’s position on matters including the East China Sea and South China Sea, Hong Kong, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, North Korea, Myanmar, as well as nuclear disarmament and arms control, and strengthened cooperation with relevant countries. Regarding the abductions issue, I requested various countries for their continued understanding and cooperation, and received their support.
Through series of meetings, I clearly conveyed Japan’s positions, including our concerns over China’s recent actions, and held significant discussions on a wide range of issues from diplomacy and security fields to the economic field. I intend to have continued close cooperation with ASEAN countries, including efforts towards realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and the AOIP, which share essential principles.
That is all from me.
Reporter: In addition to China’s launch of ballistic missiles that fell into Japan’s EEZ, which you just mentioned, the planned Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting has been postponed. Japan’s relations with China have been deteriorating. How do you intend to respond to relations with China going forward?
Minister Hayashi: Although the final coordination was being conducted towards holding a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the Chinese side contacted us yesterday to say that they do not want to hold the meeting due to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement and other factors. This response by the Chinese side is regrettable. It is important to communicate firmly at times like this, when the situation is tense. Japan is always open to dialogue with China. With regard to Japan-China relations, I believe it is important to state what should be stated and request China to take responsible actions, while both sides making efforts to build constructive, stable Japan-China relations while cooperating on various common issues.
Reporter: In relation to this question, I believe that Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China and Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia left the meeting this morning when you were speaking. Please tell us your reaction to this.
Minister Hayashi: During the EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ARF Ministerial Meeting today, I clearly stated serious concerns over China’s series of military actions. I also clearly expressed the same position during the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting yesterday. I am not in a position to comment on the movements of other foreign ministers. However, I believe that Foreign Minister Wang left his seat for a while, including when I made my statement. After that, Foreign Minister Wang made a statement based on China’s position, and I firmly objected in his presence. In addition, Foreign Minister Lavrov left his seat for a while, including when I made my statement. After that, Foreign Minister Wang and Foreign Minister Lavrov made statements based on their own countries’ positions. I also firmly objected in front of Foreign Minister Lavrov in the same way I did for Foreign Minister Wang. Several countries made statements supporting my remarks, both in opposition to the Chinese side and Russian side.
Reporter: I would like to confirm something regarding your answer. Is it correct to understand that you yourself confirmed that ministers left their seats when you made your statement?
Minister Hayashi: I was making my statement while facing forward, so my staff members confirmed this.
Reporter: During your statement.
Minister Hayashi: It was for a while, including while making my statement.
Reporter: As you mentioned earlier, you have repeatedly stated that you aim for constructive, stable Japan-China relations. Is it correct to understand that there is no change to this policy, even taking into account the current situation?
Minister Hayashi: As I mentioned earlier, it is important to communicate firmly when the situation is tense. Japan is always open to dialogue with China. With regard to Japan-China relations, I believe it is important for both sides to make efforts to build constructive, stable relations.
Reporter: I would like to ask about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. I believe you held a meeting with Foreign Minister Park Jin of the ROK yesterday. Is it correct to understand that you lodged a protest regarding the ROK’s relevant actions concerning Takeshima last month, including the navigation by the ROK research vessel in Japan’s territorial waters near Takeshima?
Minister Hayashi: Japan immediately lodged strong protests against the recent ROK’s military exercises related to Takeshima and the navigation by the ROK research vessel in Japan’s territorial waters near Takeshima. Additionally, during this meeting, I once again conveyed Japan’s position on the issue of Takeshima. I would like to refrain from giving any further details.