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Japan, Pacific island countries agree to enhance defence co-operation

Defence and security representatives from Japan and several other countries, including 13 Pacific island countries, have agreed at an online meeting on the need to bolster defence ties in the face of “regional security challenges”.

The participants of the 2 September Japan Pacific Islands Defense Dialogue (JPIDD), the first of its kind to be hosted by the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), emphasised in a joint statement the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight in the region as well as of “resolving disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law”.

The representatives also deemed it necessary to continue combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; to strengthen maritime law enforcement in the region; as well as to “enhance mutual understanding and build confidence among defence authorities in facing regional security challenges”.

In this context, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, who chaired the meeting, renewed Tokyo's commitment to “upholding and reinforcing a free and open Indo-Pacific, together with all parties that share such a vision”.

Kishi also expressed Japan's intention – based on the Pacific Bond (Kizuna) Policy announced during the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) – to promote defence co-operation through exchanges, including visits by Japan Self-Defense Force vessels and aircraft and human resource development in the fields of maritime security and disaster relief.

Alongside Kishi, representatives of the governments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Australia, Canada, the Cook Islands, France, Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vanuatu attended the meeting.

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