Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Monday, April 17, 2023, 6:51 p.m. Karuizawa Prince Hotel
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The sessions held during the second day of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Karuizawa, Nagano have just concluded. I feel extremely pleased that since yesterday evening the G7 foreign ministers have been able to hold candid and open discussions here in Karuizawa, surrounded by abundant nature.
The international community is at a history’s turning point. Against this backdrop, at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, we expressed our intention to resolutely demonstrate to the world the G7’s strong determination to firmly reject unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its threats of the use of nuclear weapons, as well as to uphold the international order based on the rule of law. Furthermore, with the emerging and developing countries known as the “Global South” facing a variety of issues, the G7 intends to work together with them to tackle these issues.
From such perspectives, six sessions have been held so far at this meeting, including last night’s working dinner and today’s working lunch, engaging in discussions on topics such as the Indo-Pacific, Ukraine, Iran and the Middle East, and Afghanistan and Central Asia.
In the “Ukraine” session, we confirmed that we remain committed to intensifying, fully coordinating and enforcing sanctions against Russia, as well as to continuing strong support for Ukraine.
Regarding the Indo-Pacific, we had a fruitful exchange of views on China, North Korea, ASEAN, Pacific Island countries, etc., which is appropriate for a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in the Indo-Pacific region. We also stated that we remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and reaffirmed that we oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. We also agreed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community, and called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. Furthermore, we confirmed that the G7 will continue to cooperate in responding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile-related issues, as well as the abductions issue, and will further enhance cooperation with regional groups such as ASEAN and Pacific Island countries.
In addition, as of now I have also held bilateral foreign ministerial meetings with Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States.
With my counterparts from these countries I discussed urgent challenges for the international community, including North Korea’s nuclear development and ballistic missile launches, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. We also discussed strengthening bilateral relations.
Tomorrow, we plan to engage in discussions in the sessions on Africa and Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. That is all from me.
Reporter: I have a question concerning the G7’s initiatives to counter unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force. President Macron of France expressed his opinion the other day that Europe should not get caught up in U.S.-China rivalry over Taiwan. Could you tell us whether at this meeting the G7 foreign ministers have unanimously expressed their firm opposition to China’s military intimidation against Taiwan?
Minister Hayashi: At this meeting I stated that anywhere in the world, it is important to firmly reject unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, and this view was shared by the other G7 foreign ministers. In addition, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is an indispensable element, not only for the security of Japan, but also for the security and prosperity of the international community. Japan’s consistent position has been that we expect that the issues surrounding Taiwan to be resolved peacefully through dialogue.
In this meeting we were able to unanimously reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community, and call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.
Foreign Minister Colonna of France explained that France is deeply committed to respecting the status quo and maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, opposes unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, and calls for a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues. Foreign Minister Colonna also noted that this was the message that President Macron had conveyed to President Xi Jinping on the occasion of his recent visit to China.
Reporter: I have a question about the situation in Ukraine. Back in February China announced a peace plan for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, while Europe, the United States and Japan are calling for a just peace. Could you tell us whether there was any discussion of China’s peace plan at this meeting and what are the G7’s views on this plan ? In addition, how does the G7 intend to approach and call for cooperation with the countries known as the Global South, which are in the spotlight over the situation in Ukraine?
Minister Hayashi: The Ukrainian people, who are fighting to protect their country, and it is for the Ukrainian people to decide how and when to engage in negotiations that will determine their own future. In this regard, I note that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has stated that China’s 12-point plan would be inappropriate if it did not provide for the withdrawal of all Russian forces.
At this meeting we helda candid and open exchange of opinions on the situation in Ukraine, and confirmed that Russia must withdraw all forces and equipment from Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, and that we remain committed to intensifying, fully coordinating and implementing sanctions against Russia, as well as to continuing solid support for Ukraine.
At the same time, it is also important that the international community as a whole, including the Global South, recognize the need to uphold the principles underpinnig the international order, such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. To this end, it is essencial to strengthen engagement with the Global South, and we as the G7 agreed to strengthen our cooperatoin.
When engaging with the Global South it is important to first give due consideration to each country’s individual circumstances, and emphasize the significance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law, rather than imposing our values. That is the approach that we confirmed in the meeting.
Reporter: You have just held a bilateral meeting with Secretary of State Blinken. Could you tell us what kinds of conversation took place about China?
Minister Hayashi: In my meeting with Secretary Blinken, based on discussions in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting we confirmed to continue to work closely together in this crucial moment in upholding the free and open international order based on the rule of law.
We also exchanged views on matters such as Japan-U.S. security cooperation, the regional situation, and economic relations, and concurred to cooperate to further strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and on cooperating for the progress of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations. We also affirmed that Japan and the U.S. will continue to work closely together toward the success of the G7 Hiroshima Summit.