• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has expressed support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ decision to send a special envoy to Myanmar to help defuse the crisis triggered by the military coup there.

In separate talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Brunei’s second foreign minister, Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof, Motegi said Japan continues to strongly urge Myanmar’s military to release those detained since the Feb. 1 coup, and that Tokyo is seeking a dialogue with the junta, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Motegi met the two ministers on the fringes of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 20 major economies, in Matera, southern Italy, on Tuesday.

Motegi also agreed with Retno and Erywan Pehin Yusof to continue close cooperation over the Myanmar crisis, the ministry said.

Since Myanmar’s junta ousted the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, more than 800 people have been killed in clashes between protestors and the military.

In late April, ASEAN leaders held a special meeting on the Myanmar crisis and reached a “five-point consensus,” including the need for an immediate end to violence and the dispatch of an ASEAN special envoy to meet with “all parties concerned.”

Myanmar is a member of ASEAN, a 10-member block currently chaired by Brunei that also includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In a separate meeting, Motegi and his Dutch counterpart, Sigrid Kaag, agreed to boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, apparently with China’s growing assertiveness in the East and South China seas in mind.

The two ministers shared “grave concerns” about any move to change the status quo by force in these waters, while also citing the human rights situations in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region and Hong Kong.

Motegi welcomed the Netherlands’ dispatch of a navy frigate to join a British carrier strike group led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth in Indo-Pacific waters later this year, saying it strengthens the Dutch engagement in the region, according to the Japanese ministry.

Motegi held separate talks with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and discussed Indo-Pacific affairs.

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