Kishida says the trip to Southeast Asia is an “important step” to protect Japan

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Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio called his eight-day trip to Southeast Asia an important step to protect Japan amid the deteriorating international situation.

Kishida spoke to reporters in Thailand on Saturday, following a series of international meetings and summit talks with the leaders of the United States, China and South Korea, among others.

Kishida said the Japanese people are more uncomfortable as world peace and order faces a major turning point amid rising tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an uncertain security situation in the east asia.

Looking back on the week, he called it an important step in achieving the most important mission in politics, protecting Japan and making its people feel safe.

Referring to a meeting with US President Joe Biden, Kishida said it was an opportunity to reaffirm the strong Japan-US alliance and their commitment to boosting deterrence and response capabilities.

Kishida also met with the leaders of China and South Korea for the first time in three years. He said that he exchanged views with them in a constructive manner, despite a number of issues that remain unresolved.

Regarding his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kishida said the two had in-depth discussions on pending bilateral issues and agreed to continue communications to improve ties.

Kishida also said the two leaders agreed that the use of nuclear weapons should never be tolerated in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking of his meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, Kishida said he agreed with Yoon to seek an early solution to the outstanding issues between the two countries. She said the two confirmed cooperation to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Kishida said the leaders of Japan, the United States and South Korea quickly joined the leaders of Australia, Canada and New Zealand after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday. He said they affirmed their commitment to jointly respond to the provocations of the North.

Kishida noted that Japan will assume the presidency of the Group of Seven meetings next year. He said he will take a leading role in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and address economic and global issues, which will support his country’s security and prosperity.

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