Japan Holds 1st Vice-Ministerial-Level Talks with EU, S. Korea, Australia, N.Z.

Reuters file photo
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on Sept. 28, 2022.

Japan affirmed the importance of strengthening cooperation to maintain and enhance free and open international order during its first talks of vice foreign ministers with the European Union, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand on Thursday.

Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and Stefano Sannino, visiting secretary general of the European External Action Service — a ministerial body handling the EU’s foreign affairs — participated in the five-way talks from Tokyo, while officials from the remaining three countries attended it online.

Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand have deepened ties through their partnership known as the four Asia-Pacific partners (AP4), holding their first summit in June last year.

As the EU has shown a growing interest in the Indo-Pacific region, Japan is aiming to promote the creation of a multilayered framework and reinforce efforts to keep China in check, which has strengthened its authoritarian moves.

After the five-party talks, Mori and Sannino had separate talks where they affirmed cooperation between Japan and the EU.