Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Japan

Newsline: Russia summons Japan’s ambassador

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Friday that it had summoned the Japanese ambassador over Tokyo’s decision to supply military equipment to Ukraine. Japan – which has backed Western sanctions against its long-time antagonist in east Asia in response to Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine – last month promised Ukraine around 100 military-use vehicles “such as trucks”, having previously given protective equipment such as helmets and bullet-proof vests. However, Moscow said Tokyo was supplying “armoured vehicles” as well as all-terrain vehicles. “The Japanese side was told that this step would lead to an escalation of hostilities and a further increase in the number of human casualties of the Kyiv regime,” the ministry said in a statement. (https://neuters.de/world/europe/russia-summons-japans-ambassador-protest-military-supplies-ukraine-2023-06-09/) Japan’s export rules ban its companies from selling lethal items overseas.

Newsline: China summons Japanese envoy

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Hideo Tarumi to lodge solemn representations over the G7 Hiroshima summit. Hideo Tarumi was summoned for ‘over-hyping’ China-related issues at the G7 summit. Sun Weidong pointed out that the G7 adheres to the confrontation between camps and the cold war mentality and its actions violate the general trend of history, objective facts and international morality. “Japan, as the rotating presidency of the G7 this year, collaborated with relevant countries to smear and attack China in the series of activities and joint declarations of the G7 Hiroshima summit, grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs, violating the basic principles of international law and the spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan, and harming China. China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposes it,” Sun Weidong said in a statement. (https://www.msn.com/en-in/news/world/china-summons-japan-s-ambassador-for-over-hyping-beijing-related-issues-at-g7-summit/ar-AA1btZ2D) According to a statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sunday night, Sun said Japan, the rotating presidency of the G7, has colluded with other countries in attacking China, and grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Newsline: Japan eyes top level diplomacy with South Korea

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is expected to visit South Korea in coming weeks and meet with President Yoon Suk Yeol, officials said, reciprocating a Tokyo visit by the South Korean leader last month. A Japanese government official and another official from a Group of Seven government said the meeting was expected before Kishida hosts a G7 summit from May 19. Japan’s Kyodo news agency said on Saturday the two will meet around May 7 or 8, citing multiple unnamed Japanese and South Korean diplomatic sources. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/japan-pm-kishida-visit-south-korea-summit-with-yoon-kyodo-2023-04-29/) Their aim will be to confirm the two neighbours’ strengthening of cooperation over North Korea ahead of the Hiroshima G7 summit, Kyodo said. Asked about reports of the bilateral summit, Kishida said in remarks broadcast by public network NHK that nothing concrete had been decided. An answering machine at Japan’s foreign ministry on Saturday said no one was available over the weekend.

Newsline: India, Japan and South Korea evacuate nationals from Sudan

India said it had sent a naval ship to Port Sudan and two military planes to Jeddah as part of its preparations and was telling citizens to avoid unnecessary risks. (https://neuters.de/world/africa/foreign-states-evacuate-citizens-sudan-2023-04-23/) South Korea said it was sending a military aircraft to evacuate its 25 citizens in Sudan. Japan said three planes had arrived in Djibouti to transport Japanese nationals.

Newsline: G7 top diplomats meet in Japan to seek unity on China

The G7’s top diplomats began talks in Japan on Monday, looking to project a unified message on concerns about China after controversial remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron. The foreign ministers are keen to move past the firestorm created by Macron’s assertion, following a trip to Beijing, that Europe should avoid “crises that aren’t ours”, and China was on the agenda even before official talks kicked off on Monday morning. After arriving at the mountain resort town of Karuizawa on a special bullet train, the group held a working dinner on China and North Korea, with Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi telling his counterparts that “the unity of the G7 is extremely important”. Monday’s first session again focused on China and regional challenges, and Hayashi opened the talks by warning the international community was “at history’s turning point”. He urged counterparts to “demonstrate to the world the G7’s strong determination” to defend the “international order based on the rule of law”. (https://www.msn.com/en-sg/news/world/g7-top-diplomats-seek-unity-on-china-after-macron-remarks/) Host Japan wants regional challenges atop the agenda, and recent events including Chinese military drills around Taiwan and North Korean missile tests have sharpened that focus. As the ministers began talks, the US Navy announced it had sailed a guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait in a freedom-of-navigation operation, with Beijing saying it had tracked the vessel.

Newsline: Diplomats say G7 to discuss waning influence

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations will use talks in Japan next week to assess their strategy in the Middle East, diplomatic sources said, as strategic shifts bypass Western powers leaving them scrambling for influence. The U.S. and its main European allies were caught unprepared in March after China brokered a deal between regional foes Saudi Arabia and Iran to revive diplomatic relations, after years of bitter rivalry that has fuelled conflict across the Middle East. The Kingdom is also pressing ahead with efforts to thaw bilateral ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, joining several other Arab states in moving to formally end Syria’s regional isolation despite Western concerns. “A reconfiguration is under way,” said a French diplomatic source who was officially briefing reporters but required anonymity as is standard policy. Some European diplomats have bemoaned a “Middle East fatigue” in the West that has also forced regional players to reconsider their relationships, leaving the door open for others to fill the void. (https://neuters.de/world/changing-middle-east-pushes-g7-discuss-waning-influence-diplomats-2023-04-13/) The ministers of the G7 – France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, the U.S. and Japan, meet in Japan between April 16 to 18. The foreign ministers, who are preparing a heads of state summit in Hiroshima in mid-May, will centre their talks on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament with North Korea, Iran and Russia in mind.

Newsline: Japan’s top diplomat seeks early release of detained national in China

Japan’s foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said he called on Beijing for the early release of a detained Japanese national during a meeting with Chinese diplomat Qin Gang held on Sunday. “I made a protest against the recent detention of a Japanese person in Beijing, and made a strong point of our position on the matter, including the early release of this national,” Hayashi said to reporters after his meeting with Qin. He added that Japan is seeking transparency over the legal process regarding detentions, but did not elaborate on China’s reaction. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/japans-foreign-minister-calls-early-release-detained-national-during-talks-china-2023-04-02/) Hayashi is visiting China and met with his counterpart Qin, marking the first visit to Beijing for a Japanese government foreign minister in over three years, as the two countries seek common ground amid rising regional tension. The visit comes a week after a spokesperson of Astellas Pharma Inc said its employee was detained in China for unknown reasons. At least 16 Japanese nationals, not counting this case, have been detained in China on suspicion of engaging in spying activities since 2015, according to Kyodo News.

Newsline: Japan and South Korea hail diplomatic thaw

The leaders of Japan and South Korea promised to turn the page on years of animosity at a meeting on Thursday, putting aside their difficult, shared history and saying they needed to work more closely to counter the region’s security challenges. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/south-koreas-yoon-seeks-friend-tokyo-amid-regional-tensions-2023-03-15/) The comments from South Korea’s Yoon Suk Yeol and Japan’s Fumio Kishida at a joint meeting in Tokyo highlight how the two U.S. allies have been pushed closer together by North Korea’s frequent missile launches, as well as growing concern about China’s more muscular role on the international stage. Yoon’s visit to Japan on Thursday was the first for a South Korean president in 12 years. The urgency of the regional security situation – and the threat posed by North Korea – were underscored in the hours before Yoon’s arrival, when the North fired a long-range ballistic missile that landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The two countries also agreed to drop an almost four-year-old trade dispute on the high-tech materials used for chips, an issue that has dogged their relationship even as the political importance of semiconductors, and securing their supply, has increased.

Newsline: Top Japan Diplomat to Skip G-20 Talks in India

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is unlikely to go to a meeting of G-20 foreign ministers in India from Wednesday due to a parliamentary committee meeting he is expected to attend, according to a government official. (https://news.yahoo.com/japan-top-diplomat-set-skip-032352872.html) It remains unclear whether Hayashi will be at a Friday meeting of the Quad nations, consisting of the US and Australia, alongside India, according to the official, who asked not to be identified in line with policy. The news was reported earlier by Japanese media, including the Nikkei newspaper. A deputy minister is likely to be dispatched in his place, the reports said.

Newsline: Japan’s top diplomat announces security talks with China

Japan and China will hold security talks next week, Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said after meeting his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. The agreement to hold the security talks, the first to be held in four years, came after Hayashi and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi spoke ahead of the conference. “It is important for us to have frank discussions precisely because there are a number of pressing matters in our relationship”, Hayashi said to reporters, highlighting a territorial spat in the East China Sea and increasing Chinese and Russian military presence around Japanese waters as some of the issues that need to be discussed. (https://neuters.de/world/asia-pacific/japan-china-hold-security-talks-next-week-japan-foreign-minister-says-2023-02-18/) The disputed East China Sea islets claimed by both China and Japan have long been a sticking point in bilateral relations. China calls the islands Diaoyu, while Japan calls them Senkaku. Japan and China will hold talks on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a statement released by Japan’s foreign ministry.