Japan seeks Lanka’s backing for its Indo-Pacific strategy

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Sabry with Yoshimasa

Japan has sought Sri Lanka’s backing for its Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy. Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa has taken up this issue with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ali Sabry, PC, when they met on 29th July.

According to a statement issued by the Japanese Embassy, in Colombo, Minister Yoshimasa has also briefed Minister Sabry regarding Russia terminating an international agreement that allowed grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea to various parts of the world.

The following is the text of the Embassy statement: “At the outset, Minister Hayashi welcomed the increasing exchanges of dignitaries between Japan and Sri Lanka since the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations last year, including President Wickremesinghe’s two visits to Japan, and expressed his desire to continue to actively cooperate with Sri Lanka, which is located at a strategic juncture along the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean and is an important partner in realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”.

Minister Hayashi explained the outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit, including the maintenance and strengthening of a free and open international order, based on the rule of law, and the new plan for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”. He also stated Japan would place importance on cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) that Sri Lanka will chair from October. Foreign Minister Sabry as the IORA chair conveyed his hope for Japan’s active involvement.

Minister Hayashi expressed his expectations for further progress in the debt restructuring process and the importance of a transparent and comparable debt restructuring that involves all creditor countries. Foreign Minister Sabry stated that Sri Lanka is committed to a transparent and comparable debt restructuring process, and again expressed his gratitude for Japan’s contribution to the discussions on debt restructuring.

Minister Hayashi commended Sri Lanka’s efforts in promoting anti-corruption measures and transparency in the policy making process in accordance with the agreement with the IMF, and expressed his hope that Sri Lanka will bring itself back on track for development as soon as possible. Regarding national reconciliation, he commended Sri Lanka’s efforts in amending the Prevention of Terrorism Act and in establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and conveyed to Foreign Minister Sabry that Sri Lanka has Japan’s support in this endeavor. Foreign Minister Sabry expressed his appreciation for Japan’s cooperation.

The two ministers exchanged views on international issues including nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Minister Hayashi highly commended and welcomed Sri Lanka’s ratification of the CTBT.

Minister Hayashi presented Japan’s position on ALPS treated water, to which Minister Sabry responded that Sri Lanka is a member of the IAEA and trusts the IAEA process.

The two ministers also had a frank exchange of views on the regional situation, including the situation in Ukraine and East Asia. In this context, Minister Hayashi reaffirmed the importance of the efforts of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), which has enabled grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea to various parts of the world, and then confirmed that Russia’s termination of the initiative completely runs counter to the international community’s efforts in addressing food insecurity and is deeply regrettable and that the international community must be united and strongly urge Russia.”

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