Thu, 02 Dec 2021

Tokyo [Japan], November 21 (ANI): Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and European Council President Charles Michel are planning to meet on November 29 to discuss closer ties in the Indo-Pacific region in the face of China's growing assertiveness, Kyodo News reported citing a Japanese government source as saying on Sunday.

According to the sources, Kishida and Michel are expected to raise the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, democratic values and the rule of law as well as China's attempts to unilaterally change the status quo in East and South China seas during their talks in Japan.

The meeting will be held as Japan seeks to enhance cooperation with the EU to counter China's increasing clout, while the European bloc has been strengthening its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, Kyodo News reported.

The first visit by Michel to Japan since he took office in December 2019 comes after the EU released its new Indo-Pacific strategy in September that includes bolstering relations with Taiwan amid repeated intrusions of Chinese military planes into the self-governed island's air defense identification zone, said the Japanese news outlet.

Earlier this month, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen held talks with a European Parliament delegation during their historic first visit to the democratic island.

Taiwan is a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China.

Despite being governed separately for more than seven decades, Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan.

China has also threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.

On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island. (ANI)

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