Japanese PM aims for deeper bilateral ties with Malaysia

by AZREEN HANI / pic by TMR FILE

JAPANESE Prime Minister Kishida Fumio (picture) has expressed his intention to strengthen bilateral ties between Japan and Malaysia in conjunction with the countries’ 65th anniversary diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy next year.

Kishida who conveyed this interest via a phone call with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri this morning said these events would present as an opportunity to further develop the bilateral relationship and to promote cooperation in issues such as tackling Covid-19, security, maritime safety, establishment of branch campus of the University of Tsukuba.

According to a statement by the Japanese embassy, Kishida stated that he would like to propel concrete cooperation including in the Sulu-Celebes Seas and their surrounding areas for the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and the “ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific.”

“In response, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri expressed his appreciation for Japan’s various cooperation including the vaccine donation, and stated that he would like to further strengthen bilateral cooperation toward the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy next year,”  the statement read.

“The two leaders also exchanged views on regional affairs, and Kishida expressed his strong opposition to unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas,” it added.

According to the embassy, the leaders  also exchanged views on North Korea, Kishida asked for understanding and cooperation from Ismail Sabri on the abduction issue.

Kishida also shared his intention to support ASEAN’s initiatives regarding Myanmar.