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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Greece and Japan boost ties as Greek Foreign minister visits Tokyo

As recently announced by the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, paid a visit to Japan from Tuesday, April 12, to Wednesday, April 13, 2022, during which he met with Japanese officials.

Greece and Japan boost ties as Greek Foreign minister visits Tokyo
PHOTO: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών Flickr (Greecemfa) CC BY-SA 2.0

Following the visit, Nikos Dendias made a statement that showed that the meeting was indeed successful, in his remarks the Greek Foreign Minister said:

“Dear colleague,

Allow me to thank you for your hospitality today. My visit marks Greece’s renewed efforts to further strengthen ties with Japan. In this vein, the Greek Prime Minister, Prime Minister Mitsotakis, has extended an invitation to Prime Minister Kishida to visit Athens at his earliest convenience.

Our diplomatic relations go back more than 120 years. And this year we celebrate 100 years since the establishment of the Japanese Embassy in Athens.

This year is also the anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe.

And I have to say that the captain and the crew of the Japanese ship “Tokei Maru” saved in September 1922 more than 800 Greeks and Armenians fleeing the burning city of Smyrna.

Greece and Japan boost ties as Greek Foreign minister visits Tokyo
PHOTO: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών Flickr (Greecemfa) CC BY-SA 2.0

We are grateful to Japan for this humanitarian gesture, which we will never forget.

Japan is a signatory of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, the Peace Treaty between the Entente Powers and Turkey. It is the Treaty that established the borders between the countries of the region. And it is exactly those borders that revisionist forces aspire to re-draw.

Today, we discussed our bilateral ties. The pillar of our ties is that we share common principles and common values. Starting with respect for International Law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. I have to say, UNCLOS for Greece is a tenet of our foreign policy.

We have commenced an experts Dialogue between our Ministries on Law of the Sea issues. We look forward to continuing it in the near future.

Respect for the Law of the Sea is also reflected in QUAD decisions, of which Japan, along with Australia, New Zealand, and the US, is a member.  

Greece and Japan boost ties as Greek Foreign minister visits Tokyo
PHOTO: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών Flickr (Greecemfa) CC BY-SA 2.0

We, both countries, seek to promote stability and security in our respective regions, building relations by promoting the peaceful resolution of disputes, as well as by rejecting the threat or use of force.

We both uphold the principle of the freedom of navigation in the high seas and we addressed cooperation in international fora, most notably the UN.

I reiterated Greece’s unilateral support for Japan’s candidature as a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council in 2023-24. And we are grateful for your support for our candidature for the succeeding period, 2025-26.

We work closely in the International Maritime Organization (ΙΜΟ), we have discussed the EU-Japan relations on trade matters, and, I also, think we both believe in the full implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

We also discussed, and we are going to discuss during lunch, how we are going to enhance our bilateral relations, especially in areas like tourism, energy, and trade.

Greece and Japan boost ties as Greek Foreign minister visits Tokyo
PHOTO: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών Flickr (Greecemfa) CC BY-SA 2.0

We discussed the situation in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion, and I took the opportunity to thank Japan for taking a clear and principled stance on this issue. Greece, from the beginning, condemned the use of force against the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine, or any other country in the world.

I reiterated that revisionism, wherever it appears, is a thing of the past and must be condemned. I also briefed my colleague on my recent visit to Odessa delivering humanitarian aid. And we will discuss during lunch challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Western Balkans, but also in the Indo-Pacific.

Let me repeat that we strongly condemn the launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea. This is a gross violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and should not be accepted by the international community.

Lastly, allow me to congratulate you on hosting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics under very difficult circumstances. We look very much forward to participating in the Osaka 2025 EXPO. Thank you so much, my dear colleague” the Greek Foreign Minister said in his statement.

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