Tokyo, Washington agree on Kishida’s early U.S. visit

Courtesy of the Foreign Ministry / Jiji Press
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meet in Liverpool, England, on Saturday.

LIVERPOOL, England (Jiji Press) — Tokyo and Washington on Saturday agreed to continue arrangements for Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to visit the United States early.

The agreement was reached at a meeting of Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of the Group of Seven foreign ministers from Saturday.

In their first in-person meeting since Hayashi took office last month, the two ministers also agreed to strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of their countries’ alliance in view of the situations in China and North Korea.

Hayashi and Blinken confirmed that their countries will deepen cooperation with Australia, India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region, apparently with China’s increasingly hegemonic behavior in mind.

The two ministers did not discuss the U.S.-led diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics next February, according to Japanese officials.

The two discussed the importance of the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and shared the stance of strongly opposing any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China seas.

They also agreed to conclude negotiations on the costs of host nation support for U.S. military bases in Japan swiftly and hold a so-called two-plus-two security meeting of their foreign and defense ministers as early as possible.

Ahead of the meeting, Hayashi met with his British counterpart, Liz Truss, in person for the first time.

They agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation to ensure the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and exchanged views on a proposed bilateral pact on the legal status of their countries’ troops while in each other’s territories.

Hayashi and Truss also talked about Britain’s bid to join the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.