Tokyo, Japan – Japanese and Indonesian foreign and defense ministers will hold talks next week in Tokyo, the Japanese government said Friday, as Tokyo hopes to forge closer ties with Southeast Asian nations to counter China's clout in the region.
The focus of the meeting on Tuesday will be on whether the two countries can make progress toward an agreement on a pact enabling Japan to export domestically-produced defense equipment to the Southeast Asian nation, officials said.
The so-called two-plus-two talks involving Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi as well as Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto will be the second of its kind since December 2015.
Issues to be discussed by the four ministers will likely include cooperation in maritime security, according to the officials, as Japan seeks to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific region where China has escalated its assertive behavior in maritime and territorial disputes.
In the wake of North Korea's launch Thursday of ballistic missiles in apparent violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Tokyo and Jakarta are likely to share the importance of implementing the UN decisions banning Pyongyang from testing such missiles, considered threatening weapons, the officials said.