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Japan minister Motegi to take part in EU foreign chiefs' meeting

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will take part in a videoconference between European Union foreign ministers on Jan. 25 to discuss cooperation in realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

    It is the first time a Japanese foreign minister will participate in a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, made up of foreign ministers from all member states of the bloc and responsible for its external policies, the ministry said.

    Motegi will attend the meeting, at the EU's invitation, to outline Japan's ideas and efforts to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law and the freedom of navigation, the ministry said.

    Japan is pushing the concept, coined by then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016 in the face of China's rising assertiveness to reinforce expansive maritime claims in the region.

    Although geographically distant, the European Union's interest in the Indo-Pacific region has grown recently in light of China's rising clout and the region's economic potential, Japanese officials said.

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