Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi, center, arrives at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday to attend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zenlenskiy’s virtual address.
/ Staff writer, with CNA
Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi yesterday highlighted the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait during talks with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore.
“The peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is not only important to my country, but to the whole international community as well,” Kishi said in a bilateral meeting with Chinese Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe （魏鳳和） that was held on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security summit.
On Saturday, Nobuo, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and South Korean Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup also met on the sidelines of the summit. It was the first time that the trilateral ministerial meeting had raised the issue of the situation across the Strait.
In the meeting, the defense ministers agreed on the importance of deepening trilateral cooperation on key issues to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and voiced strong opposition against any unilateral actions to change the “status quo” and increase tensions in the region, a joint statement released after the meeting said.
“They emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the statement said. “They also reaffirmed that all disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with the principles of international law.”
The statement came after Austin had in a speech at the summit earlier on Saturday warned China against taking a “coercive and aggressive” approach to its territorial claims, saying that the stakes were especially high in the Taiwan Strait.
“Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait isn’t just a US interest. It’s a matter of international concern,” Austin said, addressing China’s “growing coercion” against Taiwan, as Chinese military planes have flown near Taiwan in record numbers in the past few months.
“The stakes are especially stark in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
At the trilateral meeting, the three defense officials also discussed North Korea, the statement said.
They pledged that Washington, Tokyo and Seoul would cooperate closely on their commitment to achieve complete denuclearization and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, the statement said.
The defense officials affirmed the importance of the full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions made by the international community, it said.
It was the first trilateral defense ministerial meeting among the three countries in two-and-a-half years, after a similar meeting in November 2019.