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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 13, 2017 (AM)

 
If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about the summit meeting with President Xi of China, which took place two days ago. It seemed that both sides expressed their desire to improve relations, so what is the Government’s evaluation of the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, on November 11, Prime Minister Abe and President Xi held a summit meeting for approximately 45 minutes with simultaneous interpretation. Given that next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, the two leaders confirmed that both sides will work to boldly advance cooperative relations in all areas, including the realization of mutual visits by leaders, the promotion of people-to-people exchanges, and the strengthening of economic relations, under the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests.” In addition, the two leaders engaged in a candid exchange of views on the pressing issue of North Korea and confirmed that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a shared goal for both countries and that Japan and China will further strengthen cooperation on the North Korea issue. The Government will work toward the improvement of all aspects of Japan-China relations by expanding and strengthening the positive aspects while dealing appropriately with matters of concern. This summit meeting took place immediately after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the election for the House of Representatives in Japan, at a time when both Japan and China have strengthened their leadership further. The Government considers that it was a significant meeting with meaningful outcomes to mark a new start in efforts to further mutually advance Japan-China relations.

REPORTER: Following his meeting with President Xi, Prime Minister Abe is also expected to hold a meeting today with Premier Li Keqiang. Do you consider that these moves are leading towards an improvement in bilateral relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, it is unprecedented for the Prime Minister to hold meetings with the President and Premier of the State Council of China in succession. Bearing this point in mind I would expect that the meeting with Premier Li will be a significant one that will lead to further developments.

REPORTER: With regard to the response to North Korea, China is advocating an approach based on dialogue. Do you think there is a possibility that China will change its policy and align with the approach of Japan and the United States that seeks to increase pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the issue of North Korea, the Prime Minister noted that China has an extremely important role to play and strongly encouraged China to fulfill a more constructive role. Both leaders affirmed their common goal of achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and confirmed that Japan and China will cooperate more closely for the peace and stability of the region, including working together to ensure the full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Although, from a diplomatic perspective, I would like to refrain from going into further details, it is the case that the summit meeting was most significant.

REPORTER: You have noted that the topic of mutual visits at the leadership level was raised in the summit meeting. Are there any current plans for the Prime Minister to visit China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, given that this year marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and next year will be the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, the leaders confirmed that mutual efforts will be made to improve relations, with such a view.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Japan-Russia summit meeting. The two leaders agreed to hold a vice-ministerial-level dialogue early in 2018 with a view to formulating specific projects for joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands. What is the Government’s evaluation of the outcomes of the summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in Viet Nam, the Prime Minister held a summit meeting with President Putin of Russia for approximately 65 minutes. In relation to the issue of concluding a peace treaty, the two leaders welcomed the progress that has been made to identify and formulate candidate projects for joint economic activities on  the Four Northern Islands. They also confirmed that a vice-ministerial-level dialogue on this issue will take place early in 2018. Furthermore, with regard to humanitarian measures for former island residents, it was confirmed that further improvements will continue to be implemented to enable freer entry to the islands by former island residents from 2018 onwards, including the implementation of special grave visits by airplane. On the issue of North Korea, the Prime Minister emphasized that in order to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which is a shared goal for Japan and Russia, it is essential to ensure the full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, and he called on Russia to play a greater role. It was also confirmed that Japan and Russia will continue to work closely on the issue of North Korea. In addition, the two leaders welcomed progress in preparations for the “Japan Year in Russia” and “Russia Year in Japan” in 2018. They also confirmed that following the visit to Russia by Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, which is scheduled for November or December this year, Japan-Russia relations would continue to be developed in a broad range of areas in 2018. The two leaders engaged in a candid dialogue and the Government considers that the summit meeting was highly significant in that the two leaders confirmed and welcome the outcomes that have been realized in a wide range of areas.

REPORTER: If the joint economic activities are to be realized it would be essential to establish a special system that will not harm the legal positions of either side. However, it is difficult to see any progress on this issue. Could you tell us if the Government has a specific timeframe in mind for achieving the formation of such a special system?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the two leaders confirmed that in order to realize projects by spring 2018  in a manner that will not harm the legal positions of either side, a working group to discuss the details of projects and another to discuss the transfer of people will be established before the end of the year. A vice-ministerial-level dialogue will also be convened early in 2018.

REPORTER: Could you tell us   how the Japanese side mentioned the “One Belt, One Road” initiative in the Japan-China summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the recent summit meeting the two leaders confirmed that discussions would continue on how Japan and China can contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region and the world, including in areas such as finance, food products, trade, the environment, energy conservation, tourism, measures to address declining birth rates and aging societies, and also through the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. In the meeting it was noted that based on a stance of contributing proactively to the peace and prosperity of the region and the world by duly taking into account the shared standards of the international community, such as the openness, transparency and economic viability of infrastructure, and fiscal soundness, Japan would seek to participate in the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

REPORTER: Japan has announced its “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.” What is Japan aiming for through the strategy? Some people are   analyzing the aims of this strategy, suggesting that it seeks to contain China’s ambitions. Do you have any comment on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” has no relevance to “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The Government has been emphasizing the importance of the Indo-Pacific region since the time of the first Abe administration in 2007. There is no change to our position to welcome cooperation with China and any other countries that agree with the concepts espoused in the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy.”

REPORTER: It is said that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is providing financial support to the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.   The Government of Japan has postponed participation in the AIIB out of governance-related concerns. Is there any change in this stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no change.
 

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