Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Friday, November 27, 2020, 3:53 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Resumption of Cross-Border Travel between Japan and China
NHK, YAMAMOTO:I would like to ask about the resumption of cross-border travel decided during the recent Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson announced that cross-border travel between Japan and China would begin on November 30. Is it correct to understand that this announcement is true? Also, can you please tell us again the significance of this agreement?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and I agreed to launch the “Business Track” and “Residence Track” within the month. As a result of coordination, both tracks will start from November 30.
We will allow resumption of cross-border travel while also taking utmost caution to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus infections. I believe this is extremely important if we consider future developments as well.
Particularly in terms of cross-border travel before the spread of the novel coronavirus, China was the country with which Japan had the biggest amount of cross-border travel. I welcome that an agreement has been reached with China on allowing resumption of cross-border travel, although it will be phased.
Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (The Chinese Side’s Statement during the Japan-China Joint Press Conference)
Kyodo News, NAKATA: I would like to ask about the Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. During the press briefing at yesterday’s joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs Division and Research Commission on Foreign Affairs of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), I heard that many people voiced the view that you should have immediately objected after State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang’s statement about the Senkaku Islands issue during the joint press conference following the Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Please tell us your opinion about this view within the LDP.
Minister MOTEGI: Firstly, as for the recognition of the facts, the Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was not completely over because it was followed by the working dinner. However, the joint press conference was held in between the meeting and the working dinner to accommodate all of your press coverage.
The Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting actually lasted over three hours, including my tête-à-tête with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang. We held a frank discussion regarding a wide variety of topics, from bilateral relations to regional and international situations.
During the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I clearly conveyed Japan’s positions regarding the situation in the East China Sea including the maritime areas surrounding the Senkaku Islands, import restrictions on Japanese food products, detainment of Japanese nationals, the South China Sea situation, the Hong Kong situation, and the Uighurs. Together with strongly requesting China to take specific actions, I firmly conveyed Japan’s position and view that China should fulfil its responsibilities concerning various issues in the region and international community.
We also held in-depth discussions regarding regional situations including North Korea, climate change, U.S.-China relations, and issues faced by the international community such as trade and investment.
Additionally, the statement by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang that you mentioned are of course based on China’s position concerning the Senkaku Islands, and is completely unacceptable. There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands.
I clearly conveyed Japan’s position to State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang during the Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. While bringing up the intrusions by Chinese vessels into Japan’s territorial waters that have reached the highest level ever this year as well as the specific individual cases of Chinese vessels navigating in Japan’s contiguous zone and nearing Japanese fishing boats, I also conveyed Japan’s strong concerns and strongly requested that China refrain from taking such actions.
Regarding the outlines of what was discussed in the meetings, the rule for conducting joint press conferences is for the host country and then the guest country to speak one by one in that order. The joint press conference was arranged in this way. Regarding the statement by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang during the joint press conference, I again emphasized Japan’s position and views during my meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang following the joint press conference.
TV Tokyo, KATO: I would like to ask a related question. Have you already received a resolution from the Foreign Affairs Division? If you have received a resolution…
Minister MOTEGI: I have not received one.
TV Tokyo, KATO: You have not received one yet. I understand.
Minister MOTEGI: I did not say “yet.” I have not received one.
TV Tokyo, KATO: I understand.