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Top Japan, U.S. diplomats affirm need for peace across Taiwan Strait

Japan’s new Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa on Monday agreed on the necessity of stability across the Taiwan Strait with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during their first in-person talks, the government said.

On the sidelines of an annual session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Kamikawa and Blinken also reaffirmed the significance of the Japan-U.S. alliance during a time when China’s military assertiveness is intensifying in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japan’s new Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hold talks in New York on Sept. 18, 2023. (Kyodo)

At the meeting, Kamikawa, who last week became Japan’s first female foreign minister in around two decades, told Blinken that she would like to have candid discussions about the challenges facing Tokyo and Washington.

In response, Blinken said, “We do have a tremendous amount of work to do together,” adding that the “partnership between Japan and the United States has never been stronger” and has “never been more consequential.”

Kamikawa and Blinken agreed that Japan and the United States will deepen bilateral and trilateral cooperation with South Korea to tackle missile and nuclear threats from the North. Pyongyang has recently carried out a spate of ballistic missile launches.

The two top diplomats also confirmed that Tokyo and Washington will continue to work together in supporting Ukraine, which has been under invasion by Russia since February 2022, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Kamikawa, meanwhile, thanked Blinken for the U.S.’ understanding over Japan’s decision to begin releasing treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was crippled by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, the ministry said.

Ahead of her talks with Blinken, Kamikawa, who succeeded Yoshimasa Hayashi in a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, met in New York with her British counterpart James Cleverly and Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira.

In their first phone talks on Thursday following the Cabinet shakeup, Kamikawa told Blinken that Japan, which holds this year’s Group of Seven presidency, will “fulfill its role” in upholding and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

Related coverage:

G-7 top diplomats vow support to Ukraine, plan talks in Tokyo in Nov.

Japan PM heads to N.Y. for speech at U.N. amid shaken global order

China, Russia top diplomats discuss Ukraine war ahead of Putin visit


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