Britain and Japan on Wednesday expressed “serious concerns” over the situation in the East and South China Seas and their common opposition to the Chinese regime’s unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.
At a virtual meeting with their Japanese counterparts Toshimitsu Motegi and Nobuo Kishi, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed the planned deployment of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Indo-Pacific region later this year.
Japan is a key security partner for the UK, and a close friend.
Today @BWallaceMP and I met with Foreign Minister @moteging and Defence Minister Kishi to discuss our shared priorities and common strategic interests ahead of the UK’s G7 Presidency. pic.twitter.com/JBsh8MeHOE
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) February 3, 2021
In a joint statement, the four ministers agreed that Japan and the UK are “global strategic partners who share a fundamental commitment to core values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law and are each other’s closest security partners in Europe and Asia respectively.”
They confirmed their commitment to maintaining regional security and upholding the rules-based international order, as well as their opposition to “attempts to coerce others in the region including by economic means.”
The ministers expressed “serious concerns” about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea and “strongly opposed any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions,” said the joint statement.
“Japan and the UK have forged a close defence and security partnership that is being elevated to new heights this year when the UK Carrier Strike Group visits the Indo-Pacific,” said Wallace, the defence secretary.
“The most significant Royal Navy deployment in a generation demonstrates the UK’s commitment to working with our partners in the region to uphold the rules-based international system and promote our shared security and prosperity,” he said.
Calling Japan “a key security partner for the UK, and a close, enduring friend,” Foreign Secretary Raab said that the UK’s “Indo-Pacific tilt” demonstrates the two countries’ “shared priorities and common strategic interests” including maritime security and free trade.
The four ministers also voiced “grave concerns” over the recent situation in Hong Kong, in particular Beijing’s imposition of a National Security Law on the city, as well as the human rights situation in Xinjiang.