Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, February 19, 2016, 8:40 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Situation in South China Sea
Chijiwa, TV Asahi: First, I’d like to ask a question on situations in the South China Sea. China has installed surface-to-air missiles on what is being called a man-made island. Please explain the Government’s view.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I am aware of the media reports. The Government has repeatedly stated that unilateral attempts to change the status quo are a shared concern for the international community and that Japan cannot accept attempts to further establish claims as accomplished facts. We intend to continue to coordinate with the international community regarding this matter.
Chijiwa, TV Asahi: China, including President Xi Jinping and other officials, has stated that it does not intend to militarize the South China Sea. Current situation, however, appears to contradict these statements. Chinese officials have also recently started to assert that this should not be an issue because it is within the scope of the country’s sovereignty. What are your thoughts on this point?
Foreign Minister Kishida: Japan has been saying that it cannot accept unilateral attempt to change the status quo by the use of force or efforts to create accomplished facts. I am also aware of media reports that Mr. John F. Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, has strongly criticized the latest development. Japan intends to strengthen coordination with the international community.
Situation in North Korea
Chijiwa, TV Asahi: I also have a question about the North Korean situation. Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States, signed sanctions imposed by the United States in the early morning Japan time. Additionally, I think Japan plans to hold an extraordinary Cabinet meeting today for a Cabinet decision. Please, once again, what is the anticipated effect of Japan’s own measures and aims?
Foreign Minister Kishida: Japan is steadily moving forward with procedures for its own measures that do not require a Cabinet decision. It is also currently making coordination for those that require Cabinet decisions. We intend to implement Cabinet decisions as quickly as possible.
Japan announced its own sanctions, and then the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced its own sanctions too. I have heard that the United States passed a law related to its own sanctions as well. The Government hopes that these sanctions imposed by various countries will send a strong message to North Korea. Japan is also looking for these various initiatives to contribute to a swift adoption of a strong resolution at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). I think Japan’s own sanctions are meaningful in this context.
Situation in the South China Sea
Abe, Asahi Shimbun: Going back to the situation in the South China Sea, there is some criticism within the United States regarding the latest missile deployment, particularly from the Republican Party, that it is the outcome of an overly accommodating stance toward China. What are your thoughts on the Obama administration’s policy toward China?
Foreign Minister Kishida: I am not in a position to offer an assessment of the US policy toward China. In any case, I think it is important for Japan to coordinate with the international community in asserting that it cannot accept changes to the status quo by force or unilateral attempts to change the status quo. I believe it is important to communicate this view together with the United States and other relevant countries.
Ishigaki, Jiji Press: You just mentioned strengthening coordination. Does Japan intend to participate in the freedom of navigation operation, or is it considering any other specific actions?
Foreign Minister Kishida: Japan is not thinking about the types of activities that you just mentioned. However, we intend to look at what types of communication methods or responses are most effective, while coordinating with others.
Morifuji, Yomiuri Shimbun: It is less than 100 days until the Ise-Shima Summit, and it is only a month and a half until the Hiroshima Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Please explain how you intend to lead the discussions, what actions you are taking to lay the groundwork, such as your visit to Canada last week and yesterday’s telephone talk with France’s new Foreign Minister, and whether you intend to visit other G7 countries.
Foreign Minister Kishida: I held a telephone talk yesterday with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of the French Republic mainly to express my congratulations to the new Foreign Minister assuming that post. In any case, Japan bears a major responsibility as the G7 chair country, and we must ensure that the Summit meeting, the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and related meetings are successful. We thus are putting our utmost efforts into preparations.
I do not have any plans for visiting Europe or other countries decided at this point mainly because the National Diet is currently in session. However, I intend to continue reviewing what the best measures are for doing our utmost to prepare for these events within this context, while taking various schedules into account.
At any rate, mutual understanding among countries is important, and I intend to sufficiently promote mutual understanding and cooperation with G7-related countries at various levels.