Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary KOBAYASHI Maki

Wednesday, March 6, 2024, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Collision Incident between Chinese and Filipino Ships in the South China Sea

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kudo: There are media reports of a collision incident in which the Philippine side was subjected to water-cannoning and other actions by the China Coast Guard on March 5 around the Ayungin Shoal, which the Philippines effectively controls, in the South China Sea. Please share the Government of Japan’s views on this incident.

Ms. KOBAYASHI Maki, Press Secretary: Regarding the matter you mentioned, there have been a series of similar incidents to date. Japan has serious concern about actions which increase regional tensions, including recent dangerous actions that caused a collision between Chinese and Filipino ships, and injuries on the Philippine side.

The issue concerning the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability of the region and is a legitimate concern of the international community. Japan has opposed any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force as well as any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea.

As stated in the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement in February 2023, the Government of Japan concurs with the Philippines’ long-standing objections to unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities and threat or use of force in the South China Sea.

Japan highly appreciates the Government of the Philippines for having consistently complied with the Arbitral Tribunal’s award as to the disputes between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China regarding the South China Sea and shown its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea, as stated in the statement by the Foreign Minister of Japan issued in July last year on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the issuance of the award.

Japan has consistently advocated upholding the rule of law at sea and will continue to cooperate with the international community to strive for the free and open international order based on the rule of law.

U.S. Presidential Election (Super Tuesday)

Kyodo News, Hayashi: My question concerns the U.S. Presidential election. Leading up to Super Tuesday, which marks the climax in the contest over the Republican Presidential nomination, results, or media reports and the like indicate that former President Trump has strong momentum. How do you view the current situation?

Press Secretary Kobayashi: As you mentioned, March 5, U.S. time, was Super Tuesday, one of the milestones of the primary U.S. Presidential elections, and there have been various reports about it.

While I would like to refrain from commenting on matters related to elections within the U.S., I would say that Japan is following the developments with interest.

As I have mentioned before, the partnership between Japan and the U.S. is stronger and deeper than at any time. We understand that the importance of the Japan-U.S. Alliance is recognized across party lines even in the U.S.

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