• kyodo


Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi expressed full support on Wednesday for ASEAN’s appointment of a special envoy to Myanmar as part of efforts to resolve the political crisis stemming from the Feb. 1 military takeover of the Southeast Asian country.

Motegi made the remarks during an East Asia Summit foreign ministers’ meeting online also attended by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to appoint Brunei’s second foreign minister to the role.

Speaking to reporters afterward, he said, “It is important for the special envoy to begin activities at an early date and achieve tangible results such as dialogue between all parties concerned” in Myanmar.

On Wednesday, ASEAN foreign ministers agreed to appoint Brunei diplomat Erywan Yusof as the special envoy to mediate dialogue between the military and the pro-democracy protesters.

Motegi said he conveyed his grave concerns about the current crisis in Myanmar during the meeting involving the 10-member ASEAN as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

He later told reporters that Japan is keeping an eye on the situation in Myanmar, saying the circumstances have “not improved” from the standpoint of an early return to democracy.

Motegi also expressed “serious concerns” about the alleged human rights abuses of Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region and the situation in Hong Kong.

On security, Japan also requested ASEAN’s cooperation in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific initiative that Tokyo and Washington advocate.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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