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Pakistan, Japan see robust ties

May 02, 2005

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ISLAMABAD, May 1: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi left here for Luxembourg on Sunday morning after completing a two-day visit to Pakistan. He was seen off at the airport by Federal Minister for Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Ajmal Khan, Japanese Ambassador Nobuaka Tanaka and senior officials of the Foreign Office. During his stay in the country, Mr Koizumi held talks with President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

Mr Koizumi’s visit to Pakistan was the first by a Japanese prime minister since his predecessor Yoshiro Mori made a trip in 2000. —APP Qudssia Akhlaque adds: In a joint declaration issued on behalf of President Musharraf and Prime Minister Aziz and the Japanese prime minister, the two governments reaffirmed their strong commitment to closely cooperate in the fight against terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation to ensure security, stability and prosperity of Asia.

“The governments of Pakistan and Japan recognize that disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery are pressing issues for the international community and reaffirm the importance of joint efforts by the international community in tackling these challenges,” the three leaders declared.

The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen international disarmament and non-proliferation framework. In this context, Japan reiterated its position regarding the NPT and the CTBT and took note of Pakistan’s position in this regard as well as Pakistan’s decision to observe a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.

The two governments, the declaration said, shared the serious concern regarding international black market networks for the proliferation of technologies and equipment related to weapons of mass destruction and underscored the need for all countries to identify and dismantle such networks through cooperative efforts.

Japan reiterated its position on North Korea, and underlined the overarching importance to bringing about a comprehensive solution to the issues relating to North Korea, including the issue of nuclear programmes, missile development and abduction.

Pakistan supported the six-party talks on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear programmes and hoped all issues would be resolved through peaceful means. Pakistan also advocated a Nuclear Weapon Free Korean Peninsula.

Pakistan and Japan agreed to continue to consult and to expand practical cooperation in areas such as export controls. In this regard, the two governments will continue to hold bilateral consultations on disarmament and non-proliferation issues in the context of Pakistan-Japan Security Dialogue.

It was decided that Pakistan-Japan counter-terrorism cooperation would be enhanced through exchange of information as well as capacity-building assistance. Pakistan and Japan agreed that terrorism remained one of the most serious issues confronting the international society and expressed determination to continue counter-terrorism cooperation with each other and with other like-minded countries.

The governments of Pakistan and Japan, the declaration said, would continue to strengthen their anti-terrorism cooperation, which was evidenced by the provision of fuel-oil and fresh water by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force to Pakistan’s naval vessels participating in Operation Enduring Freedom -Maritime Interdiction Operation (OEFMIO) in the Indian Ocean.

It said the governments of Pakistan and Japan had common interest in the future of Asia, with special focus on counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, economic cooperation and the propagation of democratic values, human rights, rule of law and market economy.

“The governments of Pakistan and Japan mutually recognize the importance of each other’s role in the international community and confirm their shared conviction that it is vital to have even closer cooperation between the two states on issues and challenges of common interest and concern.”

Japan acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism and said: “Japan pays tribute to Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism; its continuing efforts towards establishing a democratic and modern Islamic polity under the principles of enlightened moderation expounded by President Musharraf and welcomes the progress in this regard.”

The two governments also pledged to deepen and widen Pakistan-Japan relations and agreed to tackle jointly common challenges in the new phase of Pakistan-Japan relations. With the visit of Prime Minister Koizumi to Pakistan, relations between the two countries had entered a new phase where they were further expanding their strong collaboration at all levels, the three leaders declared.

Underscoring the importance of closer cooperation, the joint declaration pointed to the shared objectives and common interest as well as to the geopolitical importance of Pakistan, which is situated at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Pakistan expressed its appreciation for the generous economic and technical assistance provided to it by Japan for over 50 years. Japan lauded Pakistan’s efforts as a front-line state against terrorism and its resolve to persevere in this regard. “Japan pays tribute to Pakistan’s vital role in Asian and South Asian affairs in which the government of Japan has an abiding interest,” the three leaders declared.

Japan welcomed the composite dialogue process aimed at peacefully resolving Pakistan-India differences on Jammu and Kashmir and other bilateral issues between Pakistan and India and hoped for its success. The Japanese leader also welcomed the recent positive developments resulting from the composite dialogue process, including launching of the Kashmir bus service and the successful visit by President Musharraf to India.

“The governments of Pakistan and Japan reiterate their acknowledgement of the potential of Saarc in bringing stability and prosperity to the South Asian region, and earnestly hope that the situation surrounding Saarc would be normalized,” the three leaders declared.

“The governments of Pakistan and Japan recognize that the stability and development of Afghanistan is vital for regional stability and will continue their support to Afghanistan.” Pakistan and Japan underlined the need for comprehensive reform of the UN to enable it to effectively respond to the challenges of the 21st century. Since reform of the Security Council is an important component of the overall reform agenda and is of vital importance to the entire UN membership, the Security Council must be made more effective, credible and representative, they said.

The two governments further noted the importance of promoting the reform of the UN with the aims of strengthening multilateralism, reinforcing the role of the UN in maintaining and promoting international peace, security and sustainable development, as well as ensuring greater participation for all member states and share among Asian countries in its decision-making process.

The Japanese premier said the Security Council should be made more effective, credible and representative through the expansion of its membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories.

Pakistan appreciated Japan’s increasing role in the UN in the maintenance of international peace and stability as well as for development. Pakistan expressed its view that the reform of the Security Council could be achieved through an appropriate expansion in the non-permanent category.

Recognising that Pakistan and Japan have benefited from reciprocal visits by their respective leaders as well as dialogue at various levels and in different areas, it was decided to continue high-level exchanges as well as hold regularly political dialogue, security dialogue, high-level economic dialogue, and the joint business-government dialogue.