Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary KOBAYASHI Maki

Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 3:48 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit

Mainichi Shimbun, Odanaka: I would like to ask about the Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Trilateral Summit. There have been many reports that arrangements are being made to hold the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit in Seoul on the May 26 and 27 as the main options. What is the current status of coordination among the three countries in relation to the Summit?

I also have a related question. If the Summit is held, it will be the first in four-and-a-half years, during which time China’s international position and the significance of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit itself have likely changed. What does the Government of Japan consider the significance of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit in the current situation?

Ms. KOBAYASHI Maki, Press Secretary: At this time, nothing has been decided regarding the date of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. However, at the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last November, we concurred on expediting preparation for holding the summit at the earliest convenient time.

I will refrain from disclosing the details of our diplomatic communication. Japan will continue to support the efforts of the ROK, the Presidency, and will coordinate with the two countries to hold the summit at the earliest convenient time.

You also asked about the significance of the Summit after four and a half years.

Since our first meeting in 2008, the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit has served as a forum for candid discussions among the three countries on various challenges of the times, including responses to financial crises, the environment and climate change, disaster risk reduction, and people-to-people exchanges.

After the previous summit, the regional and international environments have changed significantly, including the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe it is important not only for the three countries, but also the entire region, for the three leaders of Japan, China, and the ROK, which share a great responsibility for regional peace and prosperity, to gather together and discuss the direction of trilateral cooperation, the manner of trilateral concrete collaboration, regional issues, and other challenges, while bearing in mind the issues of the day.

Japan-France Summit Meeting and Olympic Truce

Kyodo News, Hayashi: French President Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a meeting. While they had different stances on issues including fair trade, they concurred that there should be an Olympic Truce due to the Paris Summer Olympics. Please share with us Japan’s view on the meeting as a whole. Japan was the host country of the previous Summer Olympics, so what is Japan’s view on this call for an Olympic Truce? Thank you.

Press Secretary Kobayashi: From May 5 to 7, President Xi Jinping visited France, where a France-China Summit Meeting and a France-China-EU Summit Meeting were held. I am aware that there was a reference to a resolution on an Olympic Truce that was adopted by majority vote at the UN General Assembly in November of last year, at the joint press occasion and the like.

Regarding our impressions of the France-China Summit Meeting as a whole, I would like to refrain from commenting on relations between third-party countries, including the points you mentioned. Japan and France are special partners who share values and principles, and we are regularly in close communication on various issues, including relations with China.

On May 2, Prime Minister Kishida held a summit working lunch with President Macron, and the two leaders exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific situation including China.

We will continue to take various opportunities to align perceptions with France. Japan will encourage China to fulfill its responsibilities as a major power, through approaching various countries, including France.

With regard to the resolution on the Olympic Truce you are also referring to, I reiterate that it was adopted by majority vote at the UN General Assembly in November of last year. As a co-sponsor, Japan upholds the resolution and hopes that the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held as a festival for peace.

Inauguration Ceremony for Russian President Putin

Mainichi Shimbun, Odanaka: Regarding Russia, on May 7, the inauguration ceremony for President Putin’s fifth term in office was held. At the press conference yesterday, the Chief Cabinet Secretary said that Japan was extended a last-minute invitation to attend the ceremony, but decided not to. Please tell us the reason for Japan not attending. Some European and North American countries have had doubts about the legitimacy of presidential election itself, so please tell us what the Government of Japan’s view is on its legitimacy, if there is any.

Press Secretary Kobayashi: First, on the decision to not attend the inauguration ceremony held on May 7, it was based upon comprehensive consideration of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, as well as factors including developments in other countries. Our absence at the presidential inauguration ceremony will not affect Japan’s basic policy on diplomacy toward Russia.

Regarding Japan’s view on the presidential election, as the Chief Cabinet Secretary stated at the press conference and other occasions at that time, we will refrain from assessing the presidential election that was conducted in Russia. As has been stated in previous statements by the Foreign Minister and at press conferences of the Chief Cabinet Secretary, so-called “elections” in the regions of Ukraine illegally “annexed” by Russia are a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and are therefore totally unacceptable.

Japan will continue to observe the situation surrounding Russia following this election and inauguration with interest.

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