Japan and German heads of state and government agree to strengthen ties and supply chain

TOKYO (dpa) – Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held the first round of government consultations in Tokyo on Saturday and agreed on them Strengthening economic and defense ties to better cope with China’s growing influence and global security concerns.

Kishida said at a joint press conference after the talks that the sides agreed to strengthen supply chains in minerals, semiconductors, batteries and other strategic areas to counter “economic imperatives, government-led attempts to acquire technology illegally, rather than market-related ones.” counteracting practices,” apparently referring to China.

“Japan and Germany, both developed nations that share fundamental values, must take global leadership to strengthen the resilience of our societies,” Kishida said.

Scholz brought six of the 17 cabinet members to meet with Japanese counterparts, including economics, finance, foreign, interior, transport and defense ministers. They discussed deepening economic and national security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, China’s assertiveness in asserting its maritime territorial claims, and closer ties with Russia.

Germany has a similar framework for “government consultations” with several countries.

In Tokyo, the two leaders again condemned Russia’s war on Ukraine and agreed to continue tough sanctions against Moscow and strong support for Ukraine, Kishida said.

Russia’s nuclear threat has made nuclear disarmament even more difficult and divided the international community, Kishida said, adding that it is crucial to get China, Russia and other nuclear-powered states to resume nuclear disarmament discussion.

Kishida is a proponent of a world without nuclear weapons, although critics say his stance is less convincing under the US nuclear umbrella.

Scholtz said the government consultations would “further advance our strategic cooperation and are a very important part of giving new impetus to this close cooperation that we want to achieve together,” reported the German news agency dpa.

The two defense ministers confirmed this in separate talks Continued engagement of the Bundeswehr in the Indo-Pacific region and greater military cooperation between countries.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius agreed to closely coordinate future regional Bundeswehr operations and to intensify joint exercises. They also agreed to seek a legal framework to facilitate increased joint defense activities and cooperation on defense equipment and technology, Japan’s defense ministry said in a statement.

Facing growing threats from China and North Korea, Japan has expanded military cooperation beyond its main ally, the United States, and developed partnerships with Australia, Britain, European and Southeast Asian nations. Last year, Kishida’s government passed a new national security strategy deployed under Japan’s long-range cruise missile to bolster its counterattack capability, a major break with the country’s post-war principle of self-defense alone.

Scholtz visited Japan last year before going to China and made it a point to prioritize Germany’s economic ties with Tokyo over Beijing. Scholz is pushing for a diversification of Germany’s trading partners and opposes a complete decoupling from China.

Japan, along with the United States, is exploring ways to withstand China’s increasing economic influence in the region. Tokyo also wants to strengthen economic security with other democracies in areas such as supply chains and the protection of sensitive technologies, apparently in opposition to China.

But Japan, which is a key US ally and a key trading partner of China, is in a delicate situation and needs to balance its position between the two superpowers.

For Germany, China was the largest trading partner in 2021 for the sixth year in a row, as business relations flourished despite strained political relations.


Associated Press journalists Geir Moulson in Berlin, Haruka Nuga and Chisato Tanaka in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Source : news.yahoo.com

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