Japanese Foreign Minister and NATO chief agree to cooperate on Ukraine

Yoshimasa Hayashi, Japan’s foreign minister, walks to a meeting of G7 foreign ministers during the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP )

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Sunday agreed with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, to cooperate in trying to ease tensions over Ukraine. while carefully watching Russia’s actions with grave concern.

During their meeting in Munich, Hayashi and Stoltenberg agreed to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Japanese foreign ministry said, amid growing fears that a Russian invasion of its former Soviet neighbor is imminent.

They claimed that changing the status quo by force will never be tolerated, according to the ministry. Hayashi traveled to the German city to participate in an annual security conference and an emergency meeting on Ukraine with his counterparts from the major developed countries of the Group of Seven.

Russia said it was threatened by NATO’s eastward expansion and called on the United States and its allies to accept Moscow’s demand for security guarantees preventing Ukraine from entering the country. the military alliance of 30 countries.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden said he was “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to invade Ukraine in a few days, targeting in particular its capital Kiev.

Hayashi also called for promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region during his meeting with the NATO chief, who in response pledged that Japan is an important partner in various fields, according to the ministry.

While attending the Munich Security Conference, Hayashi stressed the importance of demanding China abide by international security and other rules, while noting that Tokyo is trying to build a “constructive relationship and stable” with Beijing, according to the ministry.

Regarding Taiwan, claimed by China as its sovereign territory, the foreign minister reportedly said that Japan regards the democratic and self-governing island as an “important partner and a friend sharing fundamental values”.

He said Japan has deepened economic ties and people-to-people exchanges with Taiwan and stressed that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is vital, the ministry said.