Japan plans summit with South Korea, Australia, New Zealand in Madrid

Tokyo, Jun 20 (EFE).- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to hold a meeting with the leaders of South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in parallel to the NATO summit next week in Madrid, government sources from Tokyo and Seoul said Monday.

The four-party meeting would be held taking advantage of the attendance at the NATO meeting as guests of the leaders of these countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and would be focused on dealing with the rise of China in the region, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri reported Monday.

Yoshihiko Izozaki, Japanese executive deputy spokesman, said at a Monday press conference that preparations for this meeting have begun, although he said that “at the moment nothing has been decided.”

The presidential office of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced on his behalf that he has received Tokyo’s proposal and is analyzing it.

The meeting, in which Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern would participate with Kishida and Yoon, would focus on promoting a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” the expression coined by Tokyo and Washington to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

The leaders of Japan and Australia already reaffirmed their commitment to this strategy at the Quad summit held at the end of May in Tokyo, along with leaders of the other two countries that make up that group, the United States and India.

Kishida, who with his trip to Madrid will become the first Japanese head of government to attend a NATO summit, hopes to discuss the situation in Ukraine and his concern about Chinese military activities in Asia with other leaders at the meeting.

The NATO summit, scheduled for Jun. 29 and Jun. 30 in Madrid, will be attended by some 40 international leaders and some 5,000 attendees. EFE


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