Tokyo: Japan and the United States held on Wednesday their first strategic negotiations on the development of cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as part of joint policies to counter China’s growing power, the Kyodo news agency reported.
The virtual event was attended by Takehiro Kano, director general of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, and Daniel Kritenbrink, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, according to the Japanese news agency.
The bilateral meeting discussed ways to enhance cooperation with ASEAN countries amid a threat allegedly posed to the Indo-Pacific security by Beijing. The agenda includes plan to strengthen ties with the association, as agreed by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden last week.
“Southeast Asia is key to realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hikariko Ono said at a press conference after the talks, as quoted by the news agency.
Ono also assessed the negotiations with Washington as “extremely meaningful,” the report said.
In addition, the Japanese and US representatives discussed ASEAN’s actions regarding the Ukrainian crisis, given that Singapore was the only country of the association to impose sanctions against Russia, Kyodo reported, citing a diplomatic source.