Japan-Singapore Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
April 26, 2016
On April 26, commencing at 6:30 p.m. for approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Fumio Kishida held a foreign ministers’ meeting with H.E. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Republic of Singapore, who is visiting Japan, followed by a working dinner. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
1. Opening Remarks
Minister Kishida welcomed Minister Balakrishnan’s first visit to Japan as foreign minister and expressed his great pleasure at being able to hold the meeting on the very day that Japan and Singapore established diplomatic relations fifty years ago. Furthermore, Minister Kishida expressed his intention to take this opportunity to reaffirm the deeping of the Japan-Singapore relationship, and advance it furtherin the next half-century.
In response, Minister Balakrishnan expressed his heartfelt condolences with regard to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. He also stated that the Japan-Singapore relationship is a specialone, and expressed his gratitude for the contributions that Japan has made to Singapore’s development.
2. Bilateral Relations
Minister Kishida stated his intention to strengthen intellectual exchanges with Singapore, one of the key opinion leaders in the region, including through holding symposiums, and expressed his gratitude for the message of condolence from Minister Balakrishnan with regard to the Kumamoto Earthquake. Minister Kishida also stated that he wished to work together to ensure the success of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Furthermore, Minister Kishida expressed his intention, commencing from this year, to hold the Japan-Singapore Symposium, which is a significant forum for intellectual exchange between the two nations, on an annual basis, and to useit, among other means, to strengthen collaborations between the two coutries over the next half-century.
In response, Minister Balakrishnan expressed support for Japan’s policy of Proactive Contribution to Peace and the Legislation for Peace and Security which reinforces the Japan-U.S. Alliance. In addition, Minister Balakrishnan stated that Japan and Singapore have built a special bilateral relationship, including the active people-to-people exchanges and the economic relationship in terms of trade and investment, and expressed his desire to further enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Minister Kishida once again expressed his great hope for the introduction of the Shinkansen system in the High Speed Railway Project between Singapore and Malaysia as flagship cooperation between Japan and Singapore. Minister Kishida also stated that the Japan-Singapore Partnership Programme for the 21st Century (JSPP21) is an effective framework for facilitating cooperation between the two countries in tackling the regional and global challenges.
In response, Minister Balakrishnan stated that everyone is aware of the technological strength of the Shinkansen system and welcomed the interest that Japan has shown in the project. Minister Balakrishnan also stated that JSPP21 is a good program for the two countries to jointly cooperate in various regions, particularly Asia.
The two ministers shared the view to cooperate towards the success of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and to further advance the bilateral relationship.
3. Regional and Global Issues
(1) Minister Kishida explained that the stability and prosperity of the ASEAN Community is important and expressed Japan’s intention to provide full-fledged support for the further integration of ASEAN as a partner sharing universal values such as the rule of law and democracy.
(2) Minister Kishida expressed his deep concern over the further escalation of unilateral attempts to change the status quo and heighten the tension in the South China Sea, including large-scale reclamations, and the construction of bases and their use for military purposes. Minister Kishida stated that Japan is monitoring the situation and places importance on cooperation with Singapore. In response, Minister Balakrishnan stated that freedom of navigation and overflight are essential, that disputes should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law, and that the rules-based multilateral order must be upheld. The two ministersreaffirmed on the importance of the rule of law.
(3) The two ministers welcomed the tenth anniversary of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP), and affirmed the importance of ReCAAP is for safety in the region, and confirmed that both countries will continue to cooperate for the rule of law at sea.
(4) The two ministers exchanged views on the security situation in Northeast Asia, including North Korea, and on the importance of the early entry into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and shared the view to continue to work closely together in addressing regional and global challenges.