Several papers reported that Foreign Minister Kono and Turkish President Erdogan held talks in Ankara on Thursday and exchanged views on Middle East peace. With Turkey’s strong opposition to the recent U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital in mind, the Japanese diplomat explained to the Turkish leader Tokyo’s position of promoting dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Kono and Erdogan agreed to launch a bilateral security consultative committee to discuss the situation in East Asia and the Middle East. The first session by bureau directors-general will probably be held in late January.
In a related story, Asahi wrote that Kono plans to visit Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives from Jan. 3 in order to discuss Japan’s policy of creating a “free and open Indo-Pacific” region, in view of China’s growing influence in the region.