The 10th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
On September 9, commencing at 9:10 p.m. for approximately 2 hours, the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Chair: Deputy Prime Minister Minh of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam) was held in an online format. Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the meeting. The overview of the meeting, with a focus on the statements by Minister Motegi, is as follows.
Minister Motegi stated that the vision for the Indo-Pacific outlined in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and Japan’s concept of a free and open Indo-Pacific share many fundamental values in common, including openness, transparency and the rule of law, and reaffirmed Japan’s intention to fully support AOIP.
- Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Minister Motegi stressed that it is essential to conduct an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation on responses by the World Health Organization, which plays the central role in the global health architecture, and emphasized the importance of not creating a geographical vacuum in response to global health issues.
- East and South China Seas
Minister Motegi stated that attempts to unilaterally change the status quo continue to occur and that Japan shares serious concerns with the EAS participating countries, and called on them to take constructive actions to improve the situation. Furthermore, he emphasized the need to uphold legitimate rights based on international law such as freedom of navigation and overflight as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and expressed support for the manifestation by ASEAN countries of their legal positions based on UNCLOS. In addition, Minister Motegi stated that the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea must not prejudice the rights of third parties and must be consistent with UNCLOS.
- North Korea
Minister Motegi stated the importance of the international community supporting the US-North Korea process to achieve complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs), and emphasized the need to maintain and strengthen measures to ensure the full implementation of UNSCRs, including by countering “ship-to-ship transfers.” Minister Motegi also asked for the EAS participating countries’ continued cooperation towards the early resolution of the abductions issue.
- Hong Kong
Regarding the situation surrounding Hong Kong, Minister Motegi expressed Japan’s grave and growing concern over the recent series of developments, including the enactment and subsequent implementation of the national security law. Furthermore, he stated the importance of upholding a free and open system in Hong Kong under the “One Country Two System” framework, ensuring that the freedoms and rights of the people in Hong Kong as well as people and businesses from all countries are respected, and ensuring the democratic and stable development of Hong Kong.