Kishida begins tour of Southeast Asia, Europe with Ukraine, China on agenda

Tokyo, Apr 29 (EFE).- Japan’s prime minister left Friday for an eight-day tour that will take him through five countries in Southeast Asia and Europe, and which will be focused on the Ukraine war and Indo-Pacific cooperation.

Fumio Kishida begins his tour in Indonesia, followed by Vietnam and Thailand, and later he will travel to Italy and the United Kingdom, on a trip that will last until May 6, the Japanese government said.

The goals of his trip are to exchange views and confirm cooperation on the situation in Ukraine, and work together to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific, Kishida told reporters on Friday before taking a flight to Jakarta.

“I’d like to make a trip for peace,” the Japanese leader said of his visits, in which he is also expected to discuss with other leaders the situation in Myanmar, and China’s military expansion.

In Indonesia, Kishida will meet Friday afternoon with President Joko Widodo, with whom he will discuss the possible participation of Russia in the G20 summit in Bali in November, in addition to cooperation in investments in infrastructure and energy, and the management of the pandemic, according to diplomatic sources.

Indo-Pacific security is also expected to be on the agenda with Widodo.

In Vietnam, Kishida is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

His subsequent visit to Thailand coincides with the 135th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and with Bangkok hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) this year.

The two are seeking to sign an agreement on the transfer of defense equipment and technology to strengthen cooperation in the security field, according to Kyodo news.

On his way through Europe, Kishida is scheduled to meet with the British and Italian prime ministers, Boris Johnson and Mario Draghi, where the agendas would include discussing response cooperation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

His tour coincides with the start of Golden Week, a holiday period in Japan, and takes place just after having received Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a summit held in Tokyo on Thursday.

In this meeting, the leaders agreed to expand their cooperation in security and energy matters in the new geopolitical context generated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In addition, Japan will host a Quad summit at the end of May, the agenda for which will also presumably be dedicated to Ukraine and China’s role in the new global order in the making. EFE


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