Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed Monday to work together to realize a successful Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima later this year.
During their talks in Paris, Kishida and Macron also confirmed the need for the G-7 to maintain strict sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine since February 2022 and continue to support Kyiv, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
Kishida visited France on the first leg of his weeklong tour of G-7 countries that includes Italy, Britain, Canada and the United States, to prepare for the summit in May in the western Japan city, which was devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in August 1945.
Facing severe security challenges, such as Moscow's aggression toward Ukraine and China's intensifying military activities in the Indo-Pacific region, the two leaders decided to hold bilateral security talks involving their foreign and defense ministers early this year.
As a lawmaker representing Hiroshima, Kishida has expressed eagerness to pitch his vision of a world without nuclear weapons at the G-7 gathering, with fears mounting that Russia may use a nuclear device against Ukraine.
Among the G-7 members, France is a nuclear power, alongside the United States and Britain.
Kishida told Macron that he will demonstrate the G-7's "strong commitment" to rejecting attempts to change the status quo by force, threats or the use of nuclear arms, as well as maintaining a free and open international order, a Foreign Ministry official said.
The official quoted Macron as telling Kishida that he will "collaborate for the success" of the G-7 summit.
Apparently bearing in mind China's growing military clout in the region, Kishida and Macron also affirmed the significance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Tensions between Communist-led China and self-ruled democratic Taiwan have been escalating, especially after U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third-highest-ranking official in the nation, visited the island in early August.
Concerns have been increasing that Taiwan may become a military flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region, with Beijing regarding the island as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 as the result of a civil war.
Kishida and Macron agreed to continue promoting joint drills involving Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the French military, which have been conducted in the East China Sea.
France has strategic interest in the region as it has overseas territories in the area, including New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Japan has operated a consular office in Noumea, the capital of the territory, since January. Macron hailed the opening of the office.