Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
President Joe Biden is not the only American conducting high-level meetings in Japan. Monday in Tokyo, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa.
Meetings between foreign policy leaders like Blinken and Yoshimasa do not typically garner as much attention as summits between national leaders – Monday, the world’s eyes were more on Biden’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida – but these second-level meetings are often where the true work of diplomacy is completed.
“Our two leaders had, I think, a very, very substantive and extremely productive discussion that went on for some time covering a broad range of issues,” Blinken said in remarks prior to his meeting with Yoshimasa, “which I think is further evidence of the fact that our alliance between Japan and the United States is stronger than it’s ever been, and more important in many ways than it’s ever been. We’re working together bilaterally; we’re working together regionally; we’re working together globally.”
While details of the meeting were sparse, Blinken and Yoshimasa indicated the day proved productive.
“The Secretary and the Foreign Minister hailed the U.S.-Japan Alliance as the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” Ned Price, State Department spokesperson, said in a statement.
Monday’s meeting came at a critical juncture in the U.S.-Japan relationship, which will be key not only in both nations’ dealings with China and North Korea in the Indo-Pacific region but with the first world’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Unsurprisingly, the topics of the day centered largely on the Indo-Pacific, and the two officials pledged their nations would work together to ensure stability in Taiwan.
“Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Hayashi discussed their shared interest in maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Price said. “The Secretary underscored the importance of U.S.-Japan-ROK [South Korea] cooperation, which reinforces a free, open, interconnected, prosperous, resilient, and secure Indo-Pacific region.”
The pair also mutually condemned North Korea for its recent ballistic missile launches and expressed support for the sovereignty of Ukraine.
When President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida are slated to meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India Tuesday, the primary topics of discussion centering on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.