30 May 201914:23

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement at a joint news conference following Russia-Japan consultations of foreign and defence ministers in the two-plus-two format, Tokyo, May 30, 2019

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Today we held already the fourth round of the two-plus-two consultations of Russian and Japanese foreign and defence ministers. The talks were straightforward. Without avoiding acute issues, we tried to hold a productive discussion and we did so.   

We had a fairly detailed exchange of views on the security situation in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR), including emerging new ideas on ensuring security there, such as the formation of closed alliances like the Indo-Pacific strategy. In this context, we spoke about the development and consolidation of the military alliance between Japan and the United States.

We reaffirmed our concern about the risks to our security being created, in part, by the plans to deploy elements of the global US missile defence system on Japanese territory.

We reaffirmed our position on enhancing security in our common region through collective rather than bloc-oriented efforts and on seeking universal recognition that there is no alternative to the principle of indivisible security by which no single country should ensure its own security by encroaching on the security of others.

I believe the discussion had a fairly positive result, notably, the clear confirmation by Russian and Japanese participants of the need to continue addressing security and cooperation issues in the APR at East Asia Summits, in particular, through our permanent representatives at the ASEAN Headquarters in Jakarta.

Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono expressed concern over Russia’s military activity in the southern Kuril Islands. In response we reaffirmed our position that Russian Armed Forces are operating on their sovereign territory and based on international law.

We have close positions on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We favour its complete denuclearisation. The problem should be resolved in a comprehensive manner, both through dialogue between the United States and the DPRK, between North and South Korea, and in the context of multilateral efforts to form a zone of peace and security in Northeast Asia. Obviously, like in any conflict, it is impossible to achieve anything with ultimatums. There is a need for reciprocal steps and a phased process. In this context, we told our Japanese colleagues about the proposals that are jointly promoted by Russia and China.

We also discussed current issues on our bilateral agenda related to cooperation in countering new challenges and threats, the dangers of terrorism and drug trafficking.

 In cooperation with the UN, Russia and Japan are carrying out a joint project on training drug police for Afghanistan and Central Asia. This is a fairly successful undertaking.

Our agenda also included a discussion of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, implementation of the agreements on the Iranian nuclear programme and other regional issues.

We agreed to hold the next meeting in the two-plus-two format in the Russian Federation. We will set the dates for it through diplomatic channels later on.

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