Japan PM beefs up European ties

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TALLINN: Japan’s Prime Minister on Friday (Saturday in Manila) landed in Estonia, his first stop on a tour of the Baltic states and other European nations as he seeks to drum up support for his hawkish stance on North Korea.

Despite a recent cooling of tensions in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Shinzo Abe has insisted on “maximizing pressure” on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs.

In the Estonian capital Tallinn, Abe met with President Kersti Kaljulaid and Prime Minister Juri Ratas and discussed bilateral cooperation on cybersecurity, a topic that digital-savvy Estonia has championed since being hit by one of the first major cyberattacks a decade ago.

Abe will then visit fellow Baltic states Latvia and Lithuania, before continuing on to Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania. He is the first sitting Japanese leader to visit these countries.


Abe told reporters that he and Ratas had “agreed that we would not accept nuclear armament of North Korea, and that it was necessary to maximize pressure on North Korea.”

The leaders also said their countries would start working together on cyberdefense and a Japanese spokesperson later said Tokyo would cooperate with NATO countries including Estonia on cybersecurity.

“Estonia and Japan are separated by thousands of kilometers, but tightly connected by a digital umbilical cord,” Ratas said, adding that “Japan will soon become a contributing participant with regard to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence, which is located in Tallinn.”

AFP

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