Kishida, Macron discuss boosting ties amid Beijing’s assertiveness

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Calling France a “special partner”, the Japanese Prime Minister commended Macron’s leadership in the European Union, rendering strategic involvement in the Indo-Pacific region …reports Asian Lite News

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday had a discussion with French President Emmanuel Macron over emboldening of security relations amid Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

French President and Japanese Prime Minister had a 40 minutes phone call where they conversed about enhancing cooperation between both countries. This included France’s Jeanne d’Arc training fleet visiting Japan for joint exercises in May, reported Kyodo News citing government sources.

Calling France a “special partner”, the Japanese Prime Minister commended Macron’s leadership in the European Union, rendering strategic involvement in the Indo-Pacific region.

The French President congratulated Kishida on his recent win and the commitments Japan made at the United Nations summit on climate change and to serve the world in coming closer to zero carbon emissions, reported Kyodo News citing government sources.

The Foreign Ministry stated that the parties communicated over other issues the world is facing including COVID-19, matters of China and North Korea, developments on the African continent further affirming cooperation on securing the return of Japanese nationals abducted by the North in the 1970s and 1980s, reported Kyodo News.


Japan’s big worry

With the region experiencing drastic shifts in the regional power balance, the new Japanese government led by Fumio Kishida has in the last few days intensified efforts towards the promotion of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

Besides stating the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, Kishida has raised serious concerns and strongly opposed China’s continued activities in East and South China Sea which he said violated Japan’s sovereignty.

As intrusions by China Coast Guard (CCG) vessels into Japan’s territorial sea around the Senkaku Islands increased, Japan has strategically promoted efforts to realize FOIP based on the rule of law, in cooperation with like-minded counties.

Tokyo says that this vision is now shared by the US, Australia, India, ASEAN and major countries in Europe, and is gaining broad support in the international community.

“Japan will seize opportunities for various bilateral and multilateral dialogues, including the Japan-India-Australia-US dialogue, to expand the cooperation to more countries,” says the Japanese foreign ministry. (with inputs from ANI and Ateet Sharma from IndiaNarrative)

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