Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, November 4, 2022, 6:33 p.m. Münster, Germany.
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Over the past two days, I attended the Japan-Germany “2+2” and G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and held bilateral meetings with various countries here in Münster, Germany.
First, in my opening remarks, I would like to briefly speak about North Korea’s ballistic missile launches. North Korea launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan on October 4, and on November 2. It launched a record number of ballistic missiles in a single day. On November 3.North Korea launched several ballistic missiles, including what may have been an ICBM. These launches pose grave, urgent threats to the security of Japan and the region. Such launches with unprecedented frequency and manner cannot be tolerated. At the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I expressed Japan’s position and affirmed that the G7 will cooperate closely to respond to the situation.
In addition, due to North Korea’s series of ballistic missile launches, I held a telephone meeting with Foreign Minister Park Jin of the Republic of Korea (ROK) yesterday morning. I also spoke with Secretary of State Blinken of the United States during a break in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting yesterday. We reaffirmed continued close cooperation between Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK for strengthening regional deterrence, including Japan-U.S.-ROK security cooperation, and further response in the United Nations Security Council.
Moreover, I have just had another meeting with Secretary Blinken. We reaffirmed continued close Japan-U.S. cooperation toward further strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance based on the increasingly severe security environment.
Furthermore, yesterday on November 3, I held the second Japan-Germany “2+2.” We discussed the response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and shared the view on strengthening cooperation for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” with Germany, which is deepening its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
It is significant that we shared the view on the importance of coordinating toward a new legal framework to deepen security cooperation with Germany as well as further specific expansion of Japan-NATO and Japan-EU cooperation. I would like to promote cooperation toward the next meeting.
I attended the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which was held for the tenth time this year. Firstly, during the session on the situation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Kuleba, who participated online, expressed gratitude and high expectations for the G7’s support.
I again condemned Russia’s aggression and indicated grave concern about Russia’s nuclear threats. I emphasized that such threats are absolutely unacceptable. Furthermore, its use should never occur under any circumstances. In addition, I stated that Russia’s false allegations about a “dirty bombs” are intolerable. Furthermore, I stated that. In addition to the support Japan has provided to Ukraine so far, we will provide further support including those for enduring the winter as the country faces harsh winter season.
I also held candid exchanges of views on regional situations, including China, and various issues in Africa.
In addition, on the occasion of this G7 meeting, I held bilateral foreign ministers’ meetings with the United Kingdom, Canada, the EU, France, Italy, the United States, Ghana, and Kenya. With my counterparts, I discussed urgent issues of the international community, such as North Korea’s ballistic missile launches and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as strengthening bilateral relations.
As the situation surrounding the international community becomes increasingly severe, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and North Korea’s missile launches, I had in-depth discussions with the G7 foreign ministers on such urgent issues.
Japan will hold the G7 Presidency next year. Taking over the baton from Foreign Minister Baerbock, I will lead discussions on these various issues as a united G7, as the situation surrounding the international community grows increasingly complex. That is all from me.
Reporter: Among many topics on the agenda that you just mentioned, including Russia’s prolonged aggression against Ukraine, China which has seen the inauguration of the third administration of Xi Jinping, and North Korea’s ballistic missile launches that occurred during your visit, what did you appeal the most? What did you achieve? Furthermore, what kind of leadership will Japan demonstrate as the G7 President?
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I emphasized the importance of maintaining the international order based on the rule of law as the international community faces various issues including Russia’s nuclear threats and North Korea’s ballistic missile launches at an unprecedented frequency. I also emphasized that unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are absolutely unacceptable.
The international community is at a historic junction. Japan will firmly lead discussions regarding regional affairs such as Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific as well as responses to global issues, as the G7 President next year.
Reporter: I would like to ask about North Korea, which has been repeatedly launching missiles. I believe you discussed the response to North Korea during your two-day G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the bilateral meeting with Secretary Blinken. Based on that, what response do you intend to take specifically?
Minister Hayashi: During the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, we shared recognition that North Korea’s provocative actions that are occurring with unprecedented frequency and conditions pose a grave and urgent threat to regional security as well as a blatant and serious challenge to the international community. Additionally, we strongly condemned North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches and affirmed close cooperation in responding to North Korea.
Japan will aim for the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions while strengthening regional deterrence, including Japan-U.S.-ROK security cooperation maintaining close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation on further response in the United Nations Security Council, and cooperating with like-minded countries including the G7 countries.
Reporter: At last night’s working dinner, you exchanged views on China. What remarks did you make? What recognition did you share regarding the new leadership? How does Japan deal with China?
Minister Hayashi: While there are various possibilities for Japan-China relations, there are many challenges and unresolved issues such as the Senkaku Islands situation in the East China Sea, China’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the South China Sea, China’s series of military actions near Taiwan, and especially the ballistic missiles that landed in Japan’s coastal waters, including Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait are also extremely important. Furthermore, we are seriously concerned about the situation in Hong Kong and the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
At the same time, both Japan and China have major responsibilities for regional and global peace and stability. I believe that it is important for both sides to say what needs to be said and call on China to act responsibly, as we both make efforts to build a constructive and stable Japan-China relations in which both sides firmly hold dialogue, including on various pending issues and cooperate on various common challenges.
During the discussions on regional affairs at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I stated that it is necessary to say what needs to be said and request China to fulfill its responsibilities as a major power, and at the same time, firmly convey that we are prepared to cooperate on fields where we can cooperate, based on our positions.
Japan will continue to approach its diplomacy with China based on such views.
Reporter: There was a session on Central Asia at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting this time. How will relations between the G7 and Central Asia be developed, and how will the Government of Japan contribute to this?
Minister Hayashi: There was a session on Central Asia at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting today. I mentioned that I visited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in April 2022. I pointed out the importance of the G7 in addressing various issues faced by Central Asia and earning the trust as a partner in this region. Other ministers shared this view.
Based on this recognition, Japan will continue to strengthen its engagement in Central Asia by utilizing opportunities such as the “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue.