From left to right: European Council President Charles Michel, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: Kyodo News
Tokyo, May 13 (CNA) Japan and the European Union reaffirmed "the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" in a joint statement on Thursday, the second consecutive year the two sides have jointly spoken about Taiwan at their regular summit, with a focus on coordinating Indo-Pacific strategies.
"We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues," according to the joint statement issued at the 28th EU-Japan Summit held on Thursday in Tokyo.
It was the second such reference to Taiwan in a joint statement by leaders of Japan and EU, following the statement from last year's summit.
At the summit this year, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, representing the EU, met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss global and regional challenges as well as bilateral relations, according to their press releases.
The leaders of the EU and Japan condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine and demanded that Moscow immediately and unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from Ukraine, according to the statement.
The statement also added that the EU and Japan "strongly oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force, regardless of the location, as a serious threat to the entire international order."
They vowed to involve countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian and Pacific Island countries in establishing synergies between their Indo-Pacific strategies for a free and open Indo-Pacific, according to the statement.
Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that Taiwan welcomed the joint statement and expressed sincere gratitude to the leaders of EU and Japan.
The statement was another testimony to the fact that maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is a consensus among democratic countries, Joanne Ou (歐江安), the ministry's spokesperson told CNA on Friday.
Amid challenges posed by aggressive expansion of authoritarian regimes that have undermined the international rules-based order and regional stability, Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with Japan, the EU, and like-minded countries to safeguard shared values on justice, freedom and democracy, she said.
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