EU, NATO Mull Meeting With Indo-Pacific Nations

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends the NATO summit meeting in Madrid on June 29, 2022.

BRUSSELS — The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are considering holding meetings in April and May with foreign ministers from the Indo-Pacific, including Japan, to strengthen ties among democratic nations in the region, with China in mind.

According to EU officials, the bloc is planning to hold a meeting focusing on issues in the Indo-Pacific region around May 13, and plans to solicit the participation of foreign ministers from the 27 EU member countries and more than 20 other countries, including Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian nations.

Cooperative measures in the area of security will likely be on the agenda.

The EU held a meeting of about 50 countries from Europe and the Indo-Pacific region in Paris in February last year. The bloc has decided to hold another meeting, prompted by Sweden, which holds the EU presidency.

Meanwhile, NATO plans to invite the foreign ministers of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand to the Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels on April 4-5.

NATO has positioned the four as “partner countries” and is strengthening cooperation in cyber measures and information sharing, eying the situation in Taiwan among other issues. The leaders of the four countries participated in a NATO summit meeting for the first time last June.

Europe has reaffirmed the importance of relations with Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries in the face of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and China’s increasingly hegemonic behavior. It aims to promote economic cooperation and to make its trade less dependent on China. It also hopes to promote dialogue with India and Southeast Asian countries that are not participating in sanctions against Russia.