He will also travel to Poland on 6 May to meet with counterparts from the Visegrad Group, or V4 — a European quartet that also includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Motegi kicks off tour along China’s Belt and Road initiative.
As the European Union works to articulate its first-ever formal strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, Japan’s top diplomat has embarked on a tour of Central and Eastern Europe to garner support for a harder line on Chinese maritime expansionism.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met with Slovenian counterpart Anze Logar on 30 April. Logar urged closer bilateral cooperation with Japan in a joint news conference afterward and stressed that international law must be respected in Indo-Pacific.
Japan will “work closely” with Slovenia regarding the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy, Motegi said. Bosnia-Herzegovina is his next stop. He will also travel to Poland on 6 May to meet with counterparts from the Visegrad Group, or V4 — a European quartet that also includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.
Motegi’s trip comes as the EU looks to finalize a detailed strategy on the Indo-Pacific region as early as September. EU members have a say in the bloc’s economic and diplomatic decisions, meaning that these Central and Eastern European nations — which are also participants in China’s Belt and Road infrastructure-building initiative — could impact the final strategy.
Slovenia, Motegi’s first stop on the tour, will be president of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021 and will be heavily involved in the entire process. The V4 is also gaining clout within the bloc, thanks partly to its combined joint gross domestic product doubling since its members joined the EU in 2004. The group had previously exercised influence over EU policies on migration and asylum-seekers. Motegi will meet with V4 foreign ministers both individually and as a group.
Chinese maritime incursions are expected to be a central topic throughout Motegi’s meetings. China Coast Guard vessels have repeatedly entered Japanese waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu. China has also been building islands in the South China Sea, fueling tensions in the waters.
Motegi will also discuss Japan’s push for a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and stress the importance of abiding by international law and upholding freedom of navigation.
Full Story at Nikkei Asia.