Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 1:05 p.m. ikura Guest House
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: There was a joint press announcement earlier, but I would like to briefly make some opening remarks. Today Japan held a Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting as the chair country for the first time in approximately five years. I am pleased with this. The content of the meeting can be broadly divided into two main themes. One was cooperation between Japan, China and the ROK, and the other was regional and international affairs. With regard to trilateral cooperation, discussions took place on further advancing cooperation in fields such as disaster reduction, the environment, youth exchanges and the economy in particular. I think there was a shared recognition that it is important for the three countries, which have a major responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the region, to cooperate in a broad range of fields. And with regard to regional affairs, I feel that a candid discussion took place in particular on the North Korea situation. Where North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues are concerned, we shared the view that North Korea’s provocative actions, including this morning’s launch of a ballistic missile that was thought to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), are totally unacceptable. And it was confirmed that Japan, China and the ROK will lead the efforts of the international community, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and strongly urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint with provocative actions and comply with the relevant UNSC resolutions. Additionally, I sought the understanding and cooperation of both China and the ROK with regard to the abductions issue, which is a top priority issue for the Abe Administration. I intend to continue making firm efforts to ensure that appropriate results are achieved at the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting that will be held this year, through the ongoing cooperation of the three countries. That is all from me.
Reporter: Regarding the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit, what specific statements did Mr. Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, make?
Minister Kishida: Regarding the Summit, it was reconfirmed at the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit held last November in Seoul that it would be held regularly. The three countries, China included, agreed that the three countries would continue to cooperate towards the holding of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit this year, to create an environment appropriate for this. There were remarks to that effect.
Reporter: At the joint press announcement, there were comments that all the political wisdom would be brought together regarding the issue of North Korea. What specifically was said about trilateral cooperation going forward?
Minister Kishida: Regarding North Korea, as I mentioned before, we agreed that the provocative actions of North Korea including this morning’s launch of the ballistic missile that was thought to be an SLBM was totally unacceptable, and we also confirmed that Japan, China, and ROK would take the lead in the international undertaking against this. We confirmed that we would strongly urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint with provocative actions and comply with the relevant UNSC resolutions. As for undertakings at the UN Security Council, I believe that it is important to express the will of the Security Council at an appropriate time in an appropriate manner, and intend to collaborate closely. In today’s meeting, I asked China to make appropriate responses as a responsible permanent member of the Security Council. There were these exchanges.
Reporter: What kind of reaction was there from Mr. Wang Yi regarding responsible action in the Security Council?
Minister Kishida: In this regard, clear opposition to these provocative actions by North Korea such as the launching of the ballistic missile, and the understanding that compliance with Security Council resolutions is very important were expressed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Essentially, these statements were made by him, and I will refrain from going into further detail.
Reporter: The Chinese side encourages self-restraint regarding the issue of North Korea, but it has also stated that countries other than North Korea also refrain from action. And China is also clearly opposed to the deployment of THAAD, so what was it like about the issue of THAAD at today’s meeting?
Minister Kishida: The issue of THAAD was not taken up at the Japan-China-ROK Foreign Ministers Meeting today. There were no such statements whatsoever.
Reporter: One more matter, if you please. As Mr. Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, was saying, there was the statement that this framework for trilateral cooperation could also lead to improvements in the bilateral relationship. There is the view that for Japan, by having been able to hold the meeting in Japan this time, this could improve the relationship between Japan and China, in addition to between Japan and ROK. What is your impression, your sense of achievement, having held this meeting?
Minister Kishida: As for the bilateral relationships, when we think about the Japan-China relationship, as I have said before, I believe that actively and positively undertaking issues of cooperation while maintaining control over issues of concern through candid exchanges of views—that is the kind of posture that is important. In this context, I believe that it is very important to have a specific exchange of views regarding these cooperative actions s and to confirm our proactive attitude going forward, and I feel that we were able to achieve this through the Japan-China-ROK Foreign Ministers Meeting. I hope that this will have a positive impact on bilateral meetings and bilateral relationships.