• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the European Union’s top officials agreed Friday to accelerate negotiations for a free trade deal to reach a broad agreement as soon as possible this year, a Japanese official said.

In their talks, Abe and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, as well as Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, also exchanged views on the recent situation in the South China Sea days after an international tribunal ruled Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea have no basis in international law.

At a news conference afterward, Abe pointed out that the outlook for the global economy has become uncertain given the slowdown in emerging economies and Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union.

He also said, “Japan and the EU will lead the world economy.”

During the talks on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Ulaan Baator, Tusk also warned that Britain’s exit from the 28-member bloc would affect the global economy, the official said.

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