• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Scholtz visits Japan to firm up financial, defense ties


Mar 18, 2023

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TOKYO — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Saturday held the 1st round of government consultations in Tokyo as they seek to strengthen financial and defense ties in a worldwide landscape dominated by China’s expanding influence and the war in Ukraine.

Scholz brought six of his ministers for talks with Japanese counterparts to deepen cooperation in the economy and national safety in the Indo-Pacific area, as properly as other worldwide concerns such as China’s assertiveness in pressing its maritime territorial claims and its closer ties with Russia.

“I think the government consultation will be a springboard to bring cooperation among Japan and Germany even closer,” Kishida mentioned in his opening remarks at the meeting. Kishida mentioned the concentrate of the talks is on financial safety, the Indo-Pacific area, Russia’s war on Ukraine and other mutual issues.

Germany has comparable “government consultations” framework with a number of nations. Of the 17 members of Scholtz’s Cabinet, six of them, such as economy, finance, foreign, interior, transport and defense ministers, are traveling with him.

The two defense ministers met separately and confirmed the German armed forces’ continued engagement in the Indo-Pacific area and stronger military cooperation among the two nations.

Japanese Defense Minster Yasukazu Hamada and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius agreed to coordinate closely in future regional deployments of the German military and step up joint workout routines. They also agreed to seek a legal framework to facilitate improved joint defense activities, as properly as cooperation in defense gear and technologies, the Japanese Defense Ministry mentioned in a statement.

Japan, noting expanding threats from China and North Korea, has been expanding military cooperation beyond its most important ally, the United States, and has created partnerships with Australia, Britain, European and Southeast Asian nations. Kishida’s government final year adopted a new national safety technique beneath which Japan is deploying lengthy-variety cruise missiles to strengthen its strike-back capability, a significant break from the country’s postwar self-defense-only principle.

Scholtz visited Japan final year prior to going to China, creating a point of prioritizing Germany’s financial ties with Tokyo more than Beijing. Scholz is pushing to diversify Germany’s trade partners, even though speaking out against a comprehensive decoupling from China.

Japan, along with the United States, is searching for approaches to stand up to escalating Chinese financial influence in the area. Tokyo also desires to reinforce financial safety with other democracies in places such as provide chains and the protection of sensitive technologies, apparently as a counter to China.

But Japan, which is a prime U.S. ally and a significant trade companion with China, is in a delicate circumstance and need to balance its position among the two superpowers.

For Germany, China was its largest trading companion in 2021 for the sixth consecutive year, as company ties have flourished even although political relations have turned tense.

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