LISBON – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has agreed with Portuguese Premier Pedro Passos Coelho to promote cooperation on maritime security, including measures to combat pirates.
Coelho, who gave a joint news conference with Abe after their talks on Friday, said he hopes to see the move by the two nations, both with proud maritime histories, lead to future collaboration drawing on bilateral exchanges initiated some 470 years ago.
The two leaders are believed to have confirmed the importance of securing and maintaining free passage on the high seas in line with international law, with Japan aiming to contain China’s growing assertiveness in the East China Sea and elsewhere.
Abe and Coelho further agreed to seek an early conclusion to the ongoing negotiations on free trade between Japan and the European Union. Abe is the first Japanese prime minister to visit Portugal, one of the 28 countries in the EU.
Aiming to bolster relations with Portuguese-speaking countries such as Brazil, Angola and Mozambique, Japan plans to join the Community of Portuguese Language Countries as an observer, a move Coelho welcomed.