Japan hosts second FMs' meeting of "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue
| The second Foreign Ministers' meeting in the framework of the "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue will be held in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, 5 June. |
The meeting will bring together Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso and his counterparts or representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, ministry officials said. Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar-Spanta will also attend as an observer. Mr Elyor Ganiyev, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, will represent Uzbekistan at the meeting.
The participants will discuss the concrete direction of cooperation in various fields between Japan and Central Asia centering on the promotion of intra-regional cooperation (arrangements are in progress to include Turkmenistan). Besides attending this meeting, participants will hold bilateral and other meetings.
In the first meeting in August 2004 in Kazakhstan, Japan and the five countries pledged to cooperate in supporting efforts on antiterrorism measures and energy development. The countries also promised to cooperate to help rebuild Afghanistan, saying peace and reconstruction in the war-ravaged country is essential to Central Asia's stability and prosperity.
Besides attending this meeting, participants will hold bilateral and other meetings, Foreign Ministry of Japan said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso on Thursday, 1 June, urged Central Asian nations to be open in cooperating with each other to resolve various concerns like terrorism, drugs and the environment, adding Tokyo is ready to play a key role in boosting such cooperation.
"I need not say how important regional cooperation is to address issues such as terrorism and drugs (which extend beyond borders)," Aso said in his speech on Japan's diplomacy toward Central Asia at the Japan National Press Club on 1 June.
"But as the case stands, it is easier said than done for neighbouring countries to cooperate. It is here that Japan can act to rouse momentum toward an open regional cooperation," he said
Aso said Japan will help draw up an action plan focused on measures to rebuild intraregional cooperation in such areas as improving the capacity of border management and halting proliferation of terrorism and drugs.
The action plan will also include making transportation more accessible for resource-rich Central Asia through creating a road that will transport natural resources via Afghanistan to India, he said.
The Japanese foreign minister downplayed views that Japan's engagement in the Central Asian region poses competition to Central Asia's big neighbors -- Russia and China -- and that it is meant to counter the influence of these two countries in the region's development.
"I do not think that there will be trouble just because we come into the picture," he said, adding he welcomes the participation of China or other countries outside the region to help ensure "openness and transparency" in regional cooperation in the Central Asia.
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