Kishida eyes trip to Southeast Asia, Europe during Golden Week
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is planning to visit Southeast Asia during the Golden Week holidays starting in late April, seeking to strengthen cooperation amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s growing assertiveness in the region, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.
Kishida is planning to travel to Thailand in early May during his trip that will include Indonesia and Vietnam, while he is also considering visiting Europe in the holiday period.
During the upcoming Southeast Asia trip, Kishida is expected to underscore cooperation toward realizing the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific amid China’s rise.
In Thailand, Kishida will meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The visit coincides with the 135th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and Thailand is this year’s host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
In Europe, Kishida is expected to discuss how to respond to Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine and support people who have fled the war-torn country, according to the sources.
While the coronavirus pandemic long stalled in-person meetings, Kishida, who took office in October, has been increasing face-to-face diplomacy after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
The prime minister visited India and Cambodia in late March, quickly followed by a trip to Belgium, where he and other leaders of the Group of Seven vowed to keep a close watch on any attempt to help Russia evade sanctions, in a possible warning to countries such as China that may seek to align with Moscow.