Motegi stresses importance of ties with ASEAN

NHK -- Aug 04
Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu has stressed the importance of working with Southeast Asian countries to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Motegi took part in an online meeting on Tuesday with foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

He told his counterparts that now more than ever, amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is crucial to maintain and reinforce principles of the rule of law, openness, transparency and inclusiveness in the region.

He pointed out that Japan sees ASEAN as the key to a free and open Indo-Pacific, with China's increasingly hegemonic activities in the South China and East China seas in mind.

Motegi pledged support for and full cooperation with the ASEAN Outlook, the Indo-Pacific initiative put forth by the group.

He also expressed eagerness to raise Japan-ASEAN relations to a new level, and revealed plans to invite ASEAN leaders to Japan for a special summit in 2023, to mark the 50th anniversary of friendship and cooperation between Japan and the ASEAN members. - NHK