Japan and Britain agreed Saturday to strengthen their cooperation to ensure the rule of law in Asia during a strategic dialogue between their foreign ministers in Tokyo.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announced the agreement at a joint news conference following the dialogue. The accord was reached on the back of China’s growing assertiveness in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing is engaged in territorial disputes with its neighbors.
In the talks, Kishida said Tokyo is willing to “closely cooperate with Britain to solve challenges” faced by the international community.
Hammond expressed support for security bills now pending in the Diet, which are aimed at expanding the role of the Self-Defense Forces abroad and strengthening Japan’s security alliance with the United States.
Hammond said the security bills are expected to enable Japan and Britain to work together closely to maintain peace and stability.
Kishida and Hammond also agreed that the two countries will promote a joint study on missile technology and defense equipment, including chemical and biological protection suits, while working toward a “two-plus-two” meeting of the two countries’ foreign and defense ministers to be held next year.
The two also confirmed that Japan and the European Union will accelerate talks to reach a broad free trade agreement by the end of this year.
Japan and Britain launched a foreign ministerial strategic dialogue in 2012 to discuss a variety of international issues. The latest meeting is the fourth of its kind.
Following his visit to Japan, Hammond plans to travel to Singapore, South Korea and China.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5