Meeting between then Defense Minister Kitazawa and UN Secretary-General

Then-Defense Minister Kitazawa extending his welcome to UN Secretary-General Ban
Then-Defense Minister Kitazawa extending his welcome to UN Secretary-General Ban

On August 9, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was on a visit to Japan, met with then Defense Minister Kitazawa.

Prior to that, Secretary-General Ban had met with then Prime Minister Kan and requested for the dispatch of SDF engineering units to South Sudan. During this meeting with Defense Minister Kitazawa, he called again for the dispatch of SDF personnel as part of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, which had separated and became independent from Sudan in July. He also extended his condolences and sympathy to Japan in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and commended the SDF on the precise execution of its activities. At the same time, he thanked the SDF for its efforts in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and in strengthening cooperation between PKO participating countries, and sought continued cooperation and contributions from the SDF.

Then-Defense Minister Kitazawa holding talks with UN Secretary-General Ban
Then-Defense Minister Kitazawa holding talks with UN Secretary-General Ban

With respect to the SDF’s continued participation in MINUSTAH, then Defense Minister Kitazawa responded that the term of the implementation plan ends in January next year, and continued participation would require further discussion with the United Nations. With regard to peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, he stated that there was, first and foremost, interest in the dispatch of key personnel to the headquarters. However, on the dispatch of engineering units, while he understood the deep concern from the international community and the significance of providing support, he sought the Secretary-General’s understanding that there were many other issues involved, including the SDF’s response to the earthquake disaster in Japan.

Vice-Ministerial level meeting between the Japanese and Chinese defense ministries

On July 26, the 9th Japan-China Defense Vice-Ministerial Meeting was held at the Ministry of Defense.

Although the meeting had been scheduled for March this year, it had been put off as a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and was thus convened this time for the first time in three years and four months.

The meeting was attended by Administrative Vice-Minister Nakae, then Director General of the Bureau of Defense Policy Takamizawa, then Director General of the Bureau of Operational Policy Sakurai, and then Deputy Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff Kawano. The Chinese delegation included Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army of China, Ma Xiaotian, as well as Chinese military attaché to Japan, Xu Jingming. In his opening remarks, Vice-Minister Nakae expressed his gratitude for China’s support in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

With regard to overall Sino-Japanese relations, Japan and China share close relations in various areas including politics, economy, and culture, and have a responsibility to contribute constructively to stability, peace, and development not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the world. In view of this, during the meeting, the two countries concurred on the need to further develop bilateral relations in order to enhance the shared interests of the countries based on the Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests.

Furthermore, with respect to defense exchanges between Japan and China, the two countries also agreed to materialize a visit by Japan’s Defense Minister to China as soon as possible, with the aim of advancing defense exchange at all levels in a healthy and stable manner through calm and frank dialogues between the two defense ministries. They also welcomed the continued implementation of field officer-level exchanges.

In addition, they concurred on conducting the 3rd working-level talk as soon as possible toward the establishment of a maritime communication mechanism between the two defense ministries, in order to prevent and avoid contingent events and the recurrence of proximate flight incidents.

Denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula is an important issue for Northeast Asia, and both sides concurred on the need to bring about denuclearization through six-party talks. They also agreed on the importance of bilateral cooperation in frameworks such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus.

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