Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, October 18, 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.
Regarding North Korea
Journalist: I have a question about North Korea. The United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced that North Korea failed in ballistic missile launches, and the United Nations issued a statement criticizing the tests. What is Japan’s view? Also, please explain Japan’s independent sanctions and how Japan, the United States, and the ROK intend to coordinate their efforts in the face of North Korea’s actions with deepening threats one after the other.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: As you noted, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement in the afternoon on October 17 in New York time that criticized the ballistic missile launches and called for compliance with Security Council resolutions and other obligations. I think the statement exhibited a strong unified stance on the part of the Security Council against North Korea and clarified that it does not tolerate these provocative actions. Japan intends to continue working toward adoption of a new resolution while coordinating with related countries at the Security Council.
Japan continues to review independent measures as well, and thinks it is important to take into account moves by the international community, including the timing. Japan thinks it is vital for the international community to send a strong unified message to North Korea and to urge it to refrain from provocative actions and to comply with Security Council resolutions and other obligations. This requires applying strong pressure.
Visit by President Duterte of the Philippines to China
Reporter: President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is visiting China from today and the South China Sea is a key point and is being closely monitored. He plans to visit Japan afterwards as well. How does Japan want to interact with the Philippines and how will it approach the meeting in light of the Philippines’ recent rocky relationship with the United States?
Minister Kishida: I think the South China Sea issue is a matter for the entire international community, and Japan must work to ensure open, free, and peaceful seas. Japan should closely cooperate with the international community, including the Philippines, to achieve this goal.
President Duterte is visiting China, and Japan is paying close attention to his visit there. Based on that, we will consider appropriate responses to achieve open, free, and peaceful seas, as I said earlier.
Reporter: Tomorrow (October 19) marks the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Soviet Union Joint Declaration. This issue has been stalled for many years. Please explain your thoughts about finding a solution ahead of the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting at the end of the year.
Minister Kishida: Tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of the Japan-Soviet Union Joint Declaration as you mentioned and it has been 60 years since normalizing relations. Both leaders agreed that it is not a normal situation to not have concluded a peace treaty between Japan and Russia even though 71 years haves passed since World War II. I think it is important to continue efforts to accumulate political dialogues to address this situation and move the Japan-Russia relationship forward in a way that contributes to national interests by resolving the Northern Territories issue and concluding a peace treaty.
President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation is scheduled to visit Japan on December 15. Japan hopes to continue efforts toward achieving results during the visit.
Extending the Length of the LDP President’s Term
Reporter: Discussions in the Liberal Democratic Party on extending the LDP president’s term reached the final stage. Please explain your thoughts on the term length as a chairman of an intraparty faction that aspires for a prime minister position.
Minister Kishida: I am aware that discussions are taking place on the party president’s term, and I am paying attention to the discussion.