Foreign Minister Motegi’s attendance at the EU Foreign Affairs Council (virtual format)
January 25, 2021
On January 25, commencing at 6:30 p.m. for approximately 90 minutes, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
- At the outset, after the welcoming note by H.E. Mr. Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-President of the European Commission, Minister Motegi delivered his statement. The main points of Minister Motegi’s statement is as follows:
(1) Japan has been promoting the vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP),” focusing on three pillars: (i) promotion and consolidation of fundamental principles of the international community, (ii) pursuit of economic prosperity including through ensuring connectivity, and (iii) commitment to peace and stability including maritime security. FOIP is an inclusive concept, open to cooperation with any countries which share the same values and vision.
(2) The world has become increasingly complex and uncertain, with drastic shift in the global power balance. In the Indo-Pacific region, there are various challenges such as: challenges against security as seen in the East and South China Seas; challenges against fundamental principles including democracy and human rights; and challenges such as developing countries’ tendency of lower self-reliance due to external debt issues associated with infrastructure development and others. (In this context, Minister Motegi asked for continued support towards the early resolution of the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea, underlining that the issue involves serious human rights violation.)
(3) Japan welcomes that, as interests in the Indo-Pacific grow in Europe, Germany and the Netherlands published their respective guidelines on the Indo-Pacific following France, and that the EU has started discussions on the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. engagement is vital for tackling the challenges we face and the collaboration among like-minded countries is important. Japan supports the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and the leaders of Japan and ASEAN confirmed that FOIP and AOIP share fundamental principles at the recent Japan-ASEAN summit meeting.
(4) In order to realize FOIP, Japan and the EU will promote cooperation in areas including: promoting and consolidating fundamental principles of the international community such as democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system and international rule-making; enhancing connectivity in the region; and maritime security, among others.
- In response to Minister Motegi’s statement, many Foreign Ministers of EU Member States expressed understanding and support for the importance of ensuring rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific. Support towards the early resolution of the abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea was also expressed.
- Minister Motegi and participants of the EU Foreign Affairs Council exchanged views on regional affairs. In addition, Japan and the EU confirmed that it is important to further promote cooperation in areas such as connectivity, maritime security, environment and climate change, as well as digital, recognizing the need to exercise leadership in the international community by working with other like-minded countries including the United States.