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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 16, 2017 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: The Chairman’s Statement  of the ASEAN Summit was released today. On the South China Sea issue, involving disputes over territorial sovereignty between China and some ASEAN member states, the word “concern” used in previous statements is not used in the latest statement. This shows vividly the strides China has made in its conciliatory measures towards ASEAN, with significant amounts of economic assistance serving as a driving force. What is your view regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the Chairman’s Statement of the ASEAN Summit released on November 16 affirmed the commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes , and also emphasized the importance of non-militarization  in the South China Sea. As Japan is not a party to the ASEAN Summit, I would like to refrain from giving detailed comments.

REPORTER: With respect to the South China Sea issue, the Government of Japan has indicated its position that the rule of law needs to be fully established.  Can you please comment on this stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as I stated earlier, the Statement emphasizes the importance of non-militarization in the South China Sea. Furthermore, at the ASEAN-Japan Summit and East Asia Summit, Prime Minister Abe expressed continued concern over the situation in the South China Sea. At the same time, the Prime Minister also welcomed the progress made in the forward-looking efforts of China and ASEAN, including the dialogues toward the adoption of a code of conduct on the South China Sea. The Prime Minister then expressed expectations for the swift development of an effective code of conduct, and advocated that the easing of tensions resulting from these efforts should be linked with non-militarization. The Government will continue to fully uphold this position.


REPORTER: This morning President Trump held a press conference to wrap up his  visit to Asia. In the press conference the President stated that countries in East Asia or countries in  Asia  are united in their response to North Korea. Is it correct to understand that the Government of Japan shares this understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we view that it was extremely significant for Japan that President Trump’s first visit to Asia started with Japan. Additionally, the President’s visit to Japan further solidified the relationship of trust between the two leaders, such as by playing golf, eating lunch and dinner together, and meeting with the families of the abductees, even in the short period of time available . In this regard, the robust alliance between Japan and the United States will become more essential as the security situation surrounding Japan becomes even severer. The robust ties between Japan and the United States were affirmed through the President’s visit to Japan. In addition, when the President visited the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China, I believe the President dealt with the North Korea issue based on the outcomes of the Japan-U.S. summit meeting. In this sense, we perceive that the President’s visit to Asia was very fruitful.

REPORTER: At the same press conference, President Trump stated that he gave up on  his proposal for China that North Korea freeze  its  development of nuclear weapons and missiles in exchange for  the freeze of bilateral military exercises by the United States and the ROK. Are there any signs of this? That is my first question.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of that.

REPORTER: My last question is, again in that press conference, President Trump also stated that the United States and Japan agreed to apply maximum pressure on North Korea. Is the Government of Japan holding discussions with both the ROK and China on applying maximum pressure?


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