Japan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hayashi Yoshimasa, was the first from his country to visit Solomon Islands and at his meeting with his Solomon Islands counterpart Jeremiah Manele the two ministers concurred to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and cooperation with the Pacific Island region.
At their meeting yesterday, Hayashi stated that for more than 20 years, Japan has supported Pacific Island countries, including Solomon Islands, to address various issue through the Pacific Islands Leaders’ Meeting (PALM), and explained the provision of health and medical equipment.
He also expressed readiness for future cooperation in the field of maritime security and unexploded ordnance disposal.
Minister Manele reiterated his gratitude for Japan’s support in various fields such as infrastructure including Honiara Airport, agriculture, fisheries, and medicine and the two ministers confirmed that they would coordinate future cooperation.
The two ministers discussed the situation in Pacific Island countries.
Hayashi pointed out that the unity of the region was getting more and more important in the midst of major changes in the regional situation. In this regard, Minister Hayashi welcomed that Kiribati rejoined to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) last month and expressed his strong support for the PIF’s “the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.”
Hayashi also stated that Japan would continue to cooperate with Pacific Island countries, making use of Japan’s strength, and respecting their agenda.
The two ministers shared the recognition that climate change is the greatest threat to Pacific Island countries.
Hayashi stated that Japan would actively engage in discussions on this issue at various fora, including at the UN. He also stated that, with regard to climate change-related sea-level rise, Japan has decided to take the position that it is permissible to preserve the existing baseline established in accordance with the UNCLOS, notwithstanding the regression of the coastlines. Minister Manele welcomed this position.
Hayashi also explained that Japan would conduct the discharge of ALPS treated water after firmly ensuring that there is no harm to the environment and human health.
Meanwhile Hayashi further stated that Japan will promote a wide range of transparent and inclusive cooperation with Pacific Island countries toward the realization of a “free and open IndoPacific,” and the two ministers confirmed further strengthening of cooperation.
The two ministers exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine and reaffirmed that any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force is unacceptable, anywhere in the world. Minister Hayashi stated that as the only country which has ever suffered atomic bombings during wartime, Japan absolutely cannot accept Russia’s nuclear threat, let alone its use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. The two ministers also welcomed the adoption of resolution calling for peace in Ukraine at the UN General Assembly and that the vast majority of the international community including Solomon Islands demonstrated their strong will to call for Russia’s immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal and agreed on continuing to further cooperate.
Hayashi stated that he would like to continue to cooperate in response to North Korea, including the nuclear and missile issues and the abductions issues.
The two ministers confirmed their cooperation at the Interim Ministerial Meeting of PALM to be held this year toward the PALM 10 to be held next year.