/

Abe cements energy ties with East European leaders

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his counterparts from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia agreed in Warsaw Sunday to deepen cooperation in energy, including nuclear and renewable power.

In a statement issued after the first-ever summit between Japan and the so-called Visegrad Group of Eastern European nations, prime ministers Donald Tusk of Poland, Petr Necas of the Czech Republic, Viktor Orban of Hungary and Robert Fico of Slovakia also agreed to strengthen security ties by organizing a seminar, perhaps by the end of the year, and confirmed the significance of holding regular talks at the leader and foreign ministerial levels.

Since the four nations are planning to boost nuclear power generation to meet rising demand for energy, Abe is hoping the summit will also generate demand for Japanese infrastructure projects, especially nuclear power technology, as well as investment that can help revive the world’s third-largest economy.

With China’s influence rising in Eastern Europe, the statement confirmed that both sides share such universal values as democracy, the rule of law and market-based economics.

As for nuclear power, the Japanese side confirmed its responsibility to contribute to enhanced nuclear safety worldwide by sharing knowledge and the lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the statement said.

The leaders also agreed that the security environments of East Asia and Europe are closely interconnected via nuclear nonproliferation issues.

They also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining maritime order on the basis of international law and freedom of navigation, and of upholding the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They expressed grave concern, however, about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, including its uranium-enrichment activities, and called on Pyongyang to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions and to address without delay the humanitarian concerns of the international community, including its past abductions of Japanese nationals.

Japan has been holding foreign ministerial talks with the Visegrad Group nations since 2005. Its members are deepening ties in areas ranging from economics to military affairs via regular summits and other meetings.