• Kyodo

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The government said Wednesday that it will offer grant aid of ¥350 million ($3 million) to the Federated States of Micronesia for infrastructure development, as the leaders of the two countries held talks in Tokyo.

“This shows anew Japan’s commitment to supporting Micronesia’s development,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a joint news conference with President Peter Christian.

Abe also said he and Christian “confirmed the importance of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law.” Japan is keen to cooperate with Pacific island nations in trade and investment and maintain a shared stance on maritime security to counter China’s rising influence in the region.

Abe and Christian also affirmed the importance of making sure U.N. sanctions on North Korea are fully enforced, including those that pertain to North Korean-flagged ships at sea, the officials said.

The two leaders also discussed preparations for the eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting, a summit between Japan and Pacific island nations slated for May 2018 in Fukushima Prefecture. Tokyo has hosted the summit every three years since 1997.

Micronesia, home to about 105,000 people, maintains relations with both Japan and China while its security is handled by the United States. It was governed by Japan from 1920 to 1945.

Bilateral issues include ensuring stable operation for Japanese fishing vessels in the area and managing the remains of Japanese soldiers killed in World War II.

Christian met Emperor Akihito on Monday and is set to leave Japan on Thursday.

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