Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, November 24, 2020, 10:50 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Opening Remarks - Visit to Japan by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: As announced last week, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Japan today. I am scheduled to hold a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with him from this evening as well as a dinner.
I would like to hold a frank exchange of views regarding various matters. Although the meeting will be held today and I cannot predict the results, I will take your questions.
Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Shanghai East Television, Song: I would like to ask about the meeting today. Specifically, what kind of discussion is planned to be held about the novel coronavirus? Thank you.
Minister MOTEGI: Xiè xie (thank you). As I stated before, I would like to discuss a wide variety of content during the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that will be held from this evening. However, at the present stage I cannot speak about what the conclusions will be. As there are various unresolved issues between our two countries, I believe it is important to resolve them one by one through a high-level meeting.
As the novel coronavirus is an international issue of extreme importance, I would like to hold a frank exchange of views regarding regional and international situations including cooperation on the novel coronavirus.
China’s Wish to Join the TPP
Nikkei Shimbun, KATO: During the recent APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, President Xi Jinping of China stated that China is actively considering participating in the TPP. Japan will be the Chair of the TPP Commission in 2021, so how will the Government of Japan respond?
Minister MOTEGI: Japan has particularly played a central role in assembling the TPP11 agreement after the withdrawal by the United States, where discussions were held among the remaining 11 countries. . In terms of its content, it is significant for globally spreading 21st century rules that have high standards and are balanced. From this perspective, we welcome indications of interest from various economies, as we have done thus far.
On the other hand, the TPP11 has high-level content in terms of not only market access but also rules. I believe it is necessary to firmly ascertain whether economies that have indicated interest, including China recently, are prepared to fulfill such high-level content.
As you pointed out, Japan will chair the TPP Commission in 2021. As Chair, Japan will continue to work on the certain implementation and expansion of the TPP11 based on strategic perspectives while monitoring movements by economies that express interest in newly joining the agreement.
Cabinet Personnel in the Next U.S. Administration
NHK, WATANABE: Although it still cannot be said that President Biden formally made a certain decision, Mr. Antony Blinken’s name is being raised as the next Secretary of State in charge of diplomacy. Based on that, what are your thoughts on this personnel selection? How would you like to build Japan-U.S. relations based on the relations thus far? Please tell us your thoughts on this point based on the new personnel selection.
Minister MOTEGI: Is your question only about the Secretary of State? Or is it generally about what has been announced?
NHK, WATANABE: Please firstly focus on your counterpart the Secretary of State, and then answer generally about the recent Cabinet personnel.
Minister MOTEGI: Firstly, I believe that Mr. Blinken, who was announced to be the next Secretary of State, has deep insight on foreign policy, including through his career as Deputy Secretary of State and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor in the Obama administration, and he has contributed to strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance thus far. When he is formally appointed, I would like to cooperate toward further development of our current strong Japan-U.S. relations and quickly communicate with him.
The new administration has not yet been inaugurated, and it is necessary to receive the formal approval by the Senate of the U.S. Congress for the Cabinet post nominations announced today, or November 23 U.S. time. It is my understanding that many of the personnel in the upcoming Biden administration, including the recent nominated personnel, have abundant experience in various fields and deep knowledge of policies. We are paying attention to the new organization and policy positions.
The Next Ambassador to Japan of the Republic of Korea (ROK)
NHK, WATANABE: I would like to change the subject to ask about the first reports in the ROK media that the next ROK Ambassador to Japan under the Moon administration will be Mr. Kang Chang-il, who is Honorary Chairman of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union. I believe he has had various exchanges with members of the Diet. Based on that, although I believe the formal decision has not yet been made, please give us your comments if you have any at the present point on this personnel selection.
Minister MOTEGI: At the present point, I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government of Japan regarding foreign government personnel due to the nature of the matter.