• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida might delay visiting Vietnam during his trip to Southeast Asia later this month to deal with the July 1 talks with North Korea, government sources said.

The possible cancellation could also be affected if the Cabinet ends up approving a revamped national security policy. It is rare for a foreign minister to cancel a visit to a foreign country on short notice.

The government plans to tell Hanoi it is considering postponing the visit “due to internal affairs,” a diplomatic source said Wednesday.

Japan is cooperating closely with Vietnam amid China’s growing military assertiveness in the South China Sea, where tensions remain high over territorial disputes involving Southeast Asian countries including Vietnam.

During the planned talks between Japan and North Korea in Beijing, Kishida may receive reports from officials and give instructions regarding the direction of the negotiations. A meeting is also likely to be held in Tokyo among ministers after the talks.

According to his earlier plan, Kishida was to meet Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh to confirm enhanced cooperation on maritime security. The foreign minister is expected to visit Cambodia as scheduled.

On Wednesday, Kishida said Japan and North Korea will hold a meeting July 1 in Beijing at which Pyongyang will inform Tokyo of the establishment of a unit to conduct a new round of investigations into Japanese abducted by the North and those who are missing.