Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi is to hold a meeting of defense ministers with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next week in Cambodia.
The talks are to be held in Cambodia from Tuesday to Wednesday, and are part of efforts to monitor defense activity in the region.
“This is a meaningful opportunity to exchange views on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region. I hope to promote mutual understanding and trust,” Kishi was quoted as saying by Japan Today, adding that Japan intends to maintain and strengthen a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region.
The meeting will be the first in-person meeting between Japanese and ASEAN defense ministers since November 2019.
Japan has been making efforts to enhance relations with ASEAN nations in the defense area as they are strategically located in key sea lanes, including the South China Sea.
Minister Kishi is also to hold separate meetings with his counterparts in Cambodia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Vietnam.
ASEAN is a 10-member regional grouping that also includes Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines.