• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Taro Aso and key members of the European Union reaffirmed their cooperation Tuesday in promoting Central Asia’s development.

Aso and the EU officials, including German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, whose nation is currently the EU chair, also agreed during an hourlong meeting in Berlin that China should play a “responsible and constructive” role in international society, Aso told reporters.

He raised concern about China’s “unclear” military policy, including the defense budget’s 19th straight year of double-digit growth and a satellite-killing test in January, a Japanese official quoted him as telling the talks.

Both sides also compared notes on their respective policies of deepening a partnership with Russia, Aso and the Japanese official said.

Aso held the talks with the EU Troika foreign ministers after attending a two-day Asia-Europe Meeting foreign ministers’ meeting in Hamburg, which ended earlier in the day.

On Wednesday, Aso will meet his G8 counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United States and Russia in Potsdam to seek ways to advance international issues, including the Mideast peace process, Iran, North Korea and Kosovo.

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