JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.78

MEETING WITH FOREIGN LEADERS

Minister of Defense’s Visits to Myanmar, Thailand, and Timor-Leste

<img src="../no78/images/photo/leaders_09.jpg" alt="Japan-Philippines Defense Ministerial Teleconference"><br />

June 6th: Republic of the Union of Myanmar

During his visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on June 6th, Minister of Defense Nakatani met with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, and Defence Minister Sein Win, in Naypyidaw. In addition, Minister of Defense Nakatani made a courtesy call on Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister.

Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
1. Meeting with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services

During the meeting, Defense Minister Nakatani praised the smooth transition to a new government in Myanmar and expressed his hope for the Myanmar Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence to play a role in strengthening Myanmar’s stability and development.

Both officials shared their views on the regional situation, including the South China Sea, and agreed that disputes must be settled peacefully. They also agreed to pursue further bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges.

Defense Minister Nakatani stated that Japan would like to continue capacity building assistance on the ground, in the sea and in the air in the fields of HA/DR, underwater medicine, and aviation meteorology. In response, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing stated his praise and appreciation for Japan’s initiatives.

Additionally, last year marked the first time that an international student from the Myanmar Armed Forces was dispatched to the National Defense Academy of Japan, and this year international students will be dispatched for the curriculum of each branch of the SDF. Regarding this, Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing stated that he would like to continue emphasizing cooperation and exchanges in the field of education.

2. Meeting with Sein Win, Minister of Defence

Both ministers agreed to pursue further bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges, including capacity building assistance, exchanges in the field of education, and unit-to-unit exchanges. They also agreed to engage in cooperation through multilateral cooperative frameworks, such as ASEAN. Minister of Defence Sein Win stated that Myanmar supports Japan’s initiative in ASEAN and that Myanmar would like to cooperate for the peace and stability of the region.

Furthermore, the ministers shared their frank views about the regional situation, including the South China Sea, and agreed on the importance of resolving disputes peacefully.

3. Courtesy call on Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister

Defense Minister Nakatani expressed his admiration for State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership in the democratization of Myanmar and formation of the new government. In addition, Defense Minister Nakatani stated that given the close relationship the two countries have forged ever since the time of General Aung San, the first occasion of Japan’s Minister of Defense meeting with Myanmar’s State Counsellor is of historical importance.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi stated that she admired Japan’s post-war development under democracy and in response Defense Minister Nakatani explained about Japan’s constitution, authority of its Diet, and civilian control.

Defense Minister Nakatani stated that he wanted the Myanmar Armed Forces’ leaders to deepen their understanding of the role of the military in a democratic nation through various exchanges, including capacity building assistance and the dispatch of international students to the National Defense Academy of Japan. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi indicated her understanding regarding this point.

Also, Defense Minister Nakatani expressed his expectations for the further advancement of national reconciliation and that the Government of Japan fully supports the NLD administration. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her appreciation for the Government of Japan’s support in the peace process.

June 7th: Kingdom of Thailand

Mr. Gen Nakatani, Minister of Defense of Japan, and General Prawit Wongsuwon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Thailand, held a Japan-Thailand Defense Ministerial meeting on June 7th 2016 in Bangkok, Kingdom of Thailand. The Ministers exchanged views on a wide range of topics, including strengthening cooperation in the region and bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges.

Kingdom of Thailand
Kingdom of Thailand
Kingdom of Thailand
Kingdom of Thailand
1. Overview

The Ministers welcomed the development of defense cooperation and exchanges in the field of security and defense based on the Strategic Partnership between the two countries over the years.

Minister Nakatani explained that the legal basis for the SDF to play a more proactive role for the peace and stability of the international community has been established through the enforcement of the Legislation for Peace and Security on 29 March 2016. Defence Minister General Prawit expressed his support for Japan to play a more leading role for the peace and prosperity of the region as well as of the world and for the Legislation for Peace and Security.

2. Regional Security

The Ministers shared the view that maintaining an international order based on the universally recognized principle of international law serves as the foundation of regional stability, and that such order benefits every single nation. The Ministers also recognized the importance of freedom of navigation and over-flight, unimpeded lawful commerce, as well as peaceful resolution of disputes without using force or coercion in the South China Sea, in accordance with international law.

The Ministers acknowledged the importance of cooperation regarding the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) and other cooperation under its framework including ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Groups, and highly recognized its effectiveness.

3. Bilateral Defense Cooperation and Exchanges

The Ministers concurred on promoting close consultations and strengthening cooperation under the existing bilateral mechanisms, namely Japan-Thailand Politico-Military/Military-Military Dialogues (PM/MM).

The Ministers recognized the significance of the SDF’s participation in the Cobra Gold Exercise and concurred to promote further cooperation with regards to enhancing bilateral cooperation and maintaining regional stability.

The Ministers concurred to continue the close coordination with a view of conducting multilateral training to be co-hosted by the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group for HA/DR co-chaired by Japan and the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine co-chaired by Thailand under the ADMM-Plus framework this year.

Expressing their satisfaction of the result of the International Aviation Law Seminar held in April 2016 and capacity building assistance regarding aviation safety held in May 2016, the Ministers concurred to further expand capacity building assistance that contributes to the maintaining of order based on international laws.

The Ministers concurred to establish Staff Talks between the Royal Thai Army and the GSDF, and confirmed to coordinate in order to convene the Talks at an early time.

The Ministers concurred that the Chief of Staff of the ASDF will visit Thailand during this fiscal year.

The Ministers affirmed to continue working-level discussion to promote defense equipment and technology cooperation.

June 9-10th: Timor-Leste

During his visit to Timor-Leste on June 9th and 10th, Minister of Defense Nakatani met with his counterpart Cirilo Jose Cristovao, Minister of Defense and Security for dinner and ministerial meeting, where the two ministers shared views about the bilateral defense exchange, defense policy, and the regional situation. Minister Nakatani also had a chance to visit Hera naval base and Metinaro base where the SDF has offered capacity building assistance to the Timor-Leste Defense Force. On the 10th, Minister Nakatani also paid courtesy call on Prime Minister Araujo and President Ruak. A summary of the ministerial meeting is presented below.

Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste
Kingdom of Thailand
Kingdom of Thailand
1. Opening remarks

Minister Nakatani expressed his gratitude for the condolences expressed by Timor-Leste for Japan on earthquake centered in Kumamoto area, Kumamoto prefecture. Minister Cristovao offered condolences to all the victims of the earthquake and their family members.

Minister Nakatani then expressed his gratitude for efforts to realize the first visit by Japan’s defense minister to Timor-Leste in 14 years. Minister also thanked for warm welcome extended by Minister Cristovao. Minister Nakatani stated that he would like to further strengthen bilateral defense cooperation and exchange between the two countries.

Minister Cristovao bid Minister Nakatani a cordial welcome to Timor-Leste. Minister Cristovao expressed his gratitude for the support provided by Japan so far and stated that he too would like to continuously promote bilateral defense cooperation and exchange.

2.Japan-Timor-Leste defense cooperation and exchange

Ministers welcomed the recent progress of bilateral defense cooperation and exchange and concurred that the two countries would continue and deepen exchanges between defense authorities especially in the following areas.


  • ・Timor-Leste side expressed its appreciation for the capacity building assistance provided by the JMOD/SDF so far to Timor-Leste Defense Force in the area of HA/DR. Ministers agreed that Japan will extend invitation for members of Timor-Leste Defense Force for a few days focusing on the control and maintenance of vehicles within this year.Ministers also agreed to continuously conduct capacity building assistance in the area of civil engineering through the Exercise HARII HAMUTUK hosted by the Australian Defence Force.
  • ・Ministers expressed their expectation for the continuous acceptance of personnel of Timor-Leste Defense Force to Japan’s National Defense Academy and other institution.
  • ・Ministers concurred that the two countries will study the possibility of the MSDF vessel’s port call to Timor-Leste in the latter half of this year.
  • ・Ministers noted that, during the Pacific Partnership 2016 activities of HA/DR seminar in Timor-Leste, the SDF will participate in the seminar to introduce its experiences.
3. Defense policy

Ministers offered explanation on the defense policy of each country. Minister Nakatani explained that the legal foundation for the Self-Defense Force to further contribute to the peace and stability of the international community was established through the enforcement of the Legislation for Peace and Security on March 29 this year. Minister Cristovao expressed his support for such efforts of Japan.

4. Regional situation (during dinner hosted by Minister Cristovao)

Ministers exchanged their views on the regional situation including the East China Sea, the South China Sea, and North Korea. Ministers expressed concern over the recent situation in the South China Sea and the East China Sea and reaffirmed the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.

Ministers also exchanged their views on situation concerning North Korea’s nuclear test and recent ballistic missile launches, which constitute direct and grave threats to the international peace and security.

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