Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Thursday, September 22, 2022, 6:15 p.m. New York
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: This is the fourth day of my visit to New York. This morning, I held meetings with United Nations General Assembly President Kőrösi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Safadi of Jordan, Foreign Minister Shoukry of Egypt, and Foreign Minister França of Brazil. During the meetings with the various countries, I conveyed Japan’s positions and held candid exchanges of views regarding the situation in Ukraine, strengthening of the United Nations functions, and regional affairs in China and North Korea, as I have spoken about thus far. Through these discussions, I had very meaningful exchanges of views, including sharing recognition with various countries and confirming future cooperation.
In addition, I participated in the photo session within the United Nations Security Council Chamber held with non-permanent members of the UNSC as well as countries that will become non-permanent members next year.
In the afternoon, I attended the Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Secretary Blinken of the United States and Foreign Minister Park of the ROK, to discuss future response towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea. In particular, we reaffirmed that we will resolutely respond if North Korea commits further provocative actions. We also discussed the issues of regional cooperation and economic security based on the strategic importance of Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation.
In addition, I attended the first Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) Ministerial Meeting held among like-minded countries in order to strengthen cooperation with Pacific Island countries and the region, which have become increasingly important recently. I introduced Japan’s efforts towards the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” such as the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, and made statements mainly on cooperation in the field of climate change countermeasures. We concurred to strengthen cooperation and support for the Pacific Island countries and region. The participating representatives of the countries and region welcomed this.
During the Ministerial Meeting of the G4 countries which just ended, we discussed our current recognition of UNSC reform and the direction of future efforts. I brought up the importance of promoting UNSC reform together with the General Assembly and Secretary-General by positioning reform in the context of strengthening the functions of the entire UN. We agreed to deepen discussion with various countries. In addition, the G4 Foreign Ministers agreed to cooperate on launching text-based negotiations, and to cooperate with relevant countries including African countries, toward the realization of UNSC reform. A joint press statement has been issued.
Tomorrow will be the last day. I will exert all efforts to make it a fruitful visit.
Reporter: I would like to ask about the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The joint statement mentions that the countries confirmed the shared commitment to support the needs and priorities of PBP partners. I cannot recall such coordination on support for Pacific Island countries being made in the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meetings until now. Could you please explain the aim of this?
Minister Hayashi: As was also the case for the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the PBP Ministerial Meeting was held with similar intent about the Pacific Island countries. As agreed upon by the relevant countries in the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, what is important for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” is to strengthen cooperation in a manner that supports the initiatives by the Pacific Island countries themselves, under common principles such as regionalism, sovereignty, transparency, and accountability. I attended the PBP Ministerial Meeting with the same awareness of the issues, and it is my understanding that we agreed on the same recognition.
Reporter: Looking at the photos from the PBP meeting, I believe there were participants from a large number of countries. How many countries participated this time? I believe that there are only five member countries, but could you please tell us which other countries participated and in what manner?
Minister Hayashi: Please ask an official about the details of the participating countries later. During the recent meeting, we agreed to support the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent compiled by the Pacific Islands countries and region in July 2022, and to promote close dialogue and cooperation with the Pacific Island Countries under the common principles of regionalism, transparency, and accountability. I believe that this concurs with the way of thinking of the PALM process implemented by Japan which is to respect the agenda of the Pacific Island countries themselves and to cooperate based on their needs. In addition, I believe that a prospect for future cooperation is the Pacific Climate Change Centre (PCCC), which Japan helped establish in the PALM process. Going forward, we will continue to leverage the experience and initiatives fostered by Japan to pursue cooperation with the PBP while cooperating with Pacific Island countries. In addition, we welcome the fact that Germany and Canada, which are eager to cooperate with the Pacific Islands region under the common principles such as transparency and accountability, expressed their intention to participate. We will continue to closely cooperate with like-minded countries.
Reporter: With regard to the new law created by North Korea which was mentioned in the joint statement of the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, is it correct to understand that the wording bears in mind the law created by the Supreme People’s Assembly on September 8 which clarifies that North Korea is allowed to carry out preemptive nuclear strikes?
Minister Hayashi: Yes. As stated in the joint statement from the recent meeting, we shared serious concern over North Korea’s escalating nuclear and missile activities, including the point you mentioned, and discussed future response towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea. In particular, we reaffirmed that we will resolutely respond if North Korea carries out further provocative actions.
Reporter: I would like to ask about the PBP. China is increasing its influence on Pacific Island countries against a backdrop of economic power. Do you intend to confront China by leveraging this framework in some way?
Minister Hayashi: The PBP Ministerial Meeting does not have any particular country in mind. If I were to say anything further, it would be that we are closely monitoring various movements in the Pacific Island countries and region, and holding discussions including opportunities for foreign ministers’ meetings with relevant countries. Additionally, although I have stated earlier, I believe that what is important for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” is to strengthen cooperation in a manner that supports the initiatives by the Pacific Island countries themselves, under common principles such as regionalism, sovereignty, transparency, and accountability, as agreed upon by the relevant countries at the recent ministerial meeting. Japan will promote all-Japan efforts for cooperation that leverages our strengths based on our Pacific Bond (KIZUNA) Policy announced at the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting.
Reporter: Yesterday, President Biden, in his address at the General Debate, mentioned the expansion of the permanent members of the UNSC, which the G4 have advocated through now. Did you discuss this during the G4 meeting today? In addition, what is your recognition of the current situation on expanding the permanent members?
Minister Hayashi: In his address at the General Debate, President Biden stated that he supports expanding the permanent and non-permanent members of the UNSC. In addition, UNGA President Kőrösi stated his will for reform, including of the UNSC, during his address at the General Debate. It is true that the G4 supports expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent members, and its way of thinking is in agreement with what President Biden stated. From this perspective, during the Ministerial Meeting of the G4 countries, we discussed ways to cooperate with relevant countries, including the United States and African countries, and agreed to aim for specific results as soon as possible.
On the other hand, as stated, the reality is that the positions of various countries differ greatly regarding UNSC reform, and there has not been major progress so far. As Prime Minister Kishida stated during his address at the General Debate, Japan has continuously appealed for action towards UNSC reform. We will continue to make efforts to achieve progress at an early stage while communicating well with relevant countries.
Reporter: According to the overview of the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, you exchanged views regarding the global issues of initiatives towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and economic security. Can you please introduce what specific statements you made regarding these points?
Minister Hayashi: With regard to economic security, I stated that Japan is responding in various ways by creating laws. I discussed the importance of economic security, citing examples of our efforts.