foreign minister

Magazine says Trump invited Iranian foreign minister to White House

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump invited Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the White House last month at the height of tensions between the two countries, The New Yorker magazine reported. The invitation, extended by Sen. Rand Paul with permission from the president, was turned down for now, The New Yorker reported Friday. Zarif said it was up to Tehran to decide on accepting it. Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to requests for comment on the report, which quoted U.S. and Iranian sources and what the magazine called a well-placed diplomat. Zarif told the magazine he would not want a White House meeting that yielded just a photo op and a two page statement afterwards, The New Yorker said.

Iran's foreign minister says US sanctions 'unacceptable'

FOX News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, walks to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 16, 2019. Iran's foreign minister has said his country is committed to an international nuclear deal and criticized escalating U.S. sanctions "unacceptable" as he met with Japanese officials in Tokyo amid rising tensions in the Middle East.(AP Saudi Arabia said drones attacked one of its pipeline.; TOKYO – Iran's foreign minister says his country is committed to an international nuclear deal but that the escalating U.S. sanctions are "unacceptable." The remarks come amid rising tensions in the Mideast, with allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied rebels and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.

Germany to Press China on Arms Control, Foreign Minister Tells Newspaper

U.S. News

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he will press China to embrace arms controls during upcoming meetings in Beijing, citing the need to regulate robotic and space-based weapons that could soon shift from "science fiction" to reality.

At Tokyo summit, diplomats say Japan can tap domestic stability to take on global leadership role

The Japan Times

Despite the fraught global environment -- with U.S.-China animosity mounting alongside a bevy of regional security concerns -- Japan appears to be viewing the situation as a glass half-full scenario, according to leading experts, as well as current and former officials. That was the scene Wednesday, when pundits and diplomats from Japan and across the globe gathered for the Eurasia Group's inaugural G-Zero Summit in Tokyo. With China and the Trump administration posing potential headaches for Tokyo, many said the country's unique position and stable domestic politics could be an opportunity for it to break out of its diplomatic shell and play a larger leadership role in regional and global politics. "After World War II, the U.S. has shouldered much of the responsibility" in establishing and maintaining the international rules-based order, Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in the conference's keynote speech. Yet Kono believes Washington can't continue to go it alone and "has been getting a little tired … so someone else has to take up the responsibility."

Venezuela activist's 'jumped out of the window' death reminiscent of Franco times: Spanish minister

The Japan Times

MADRID – Spain's foreign minister on Thursday compared the death of a Venezuelan activist in government custody with cases that took place during his country's fascist dictatorship when prisoners being interrogated suddenly "jumped out of the window. Fernando Alban, a Caracas city council member accused of taking part in a failed drone attack on President Nicolas Maduro, died on Monday while in pretrial detention in an incident that has sparked international outrage. Authorities say the 52-year-old committed suicide by jumping out of a 10th-floor window of the state intelligence service headquarters, but his supporters counter that he was murdered. "It brings to memory events during the last years of (dictator Francisco) Franco's regime when prisoners who were being interrogated in police departments also jumped out of the window," Foreign Minister Josep Borrel told reporters. One case that shook Spain during the 1939-1975 dictatorship was that of leftist student Enrique Ruano, whom authorities said committed suicide by throwing himself from the seventh floor while in police custody. His family has always maintained he was murdered. Borrell stressed that such incidents in Spain toward the end of Franco's regime could not be compared to what is happening in Venezuela. But he added the Venezuelan government would have to "give explanations, just like any country would have to if this kind of event took place." "People don't jump out of windows from a tenth floor, something must have happened for this to take place," he said. The United Nations, European Union and several countries -- including Spain -- have asked for an independent investigation into what happened in Caracas. Borrell was speaking after meeting his Brazilian counterpart Aloysio Nunes in Madrid. Both said they would not join a call by multiple countries for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Maduro's government for crimes against humanity. The request was made at the end of September by Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru, and is supported by France. Both ministers said the ICC had already started its own probe and the legal basis for accusing the Venezuelan government of crimes against humanity was "not very clear.

Japan and Germany agree to promote free trade, rules-based order

The Japan Times

Foreign Minister Taro Kono agreed Wednesday with his German counterpart to promote free trade amid a rising protectionist tide, while supporting a rules-based international order. During talks in Tokyo, Kono and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed the importance of closer economic ties just days after the signing of a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union. "The free, open and rules-based international order faces a serious challenge," Kono said during a joint press briefing with Maas. "Closer cooperation between Japan and Germany, (countries) that share the same values such as democracy, and lead Asia and Europe … is taking on greater importance than ever." The signing earlier this month of the free trade deal, which covers about a third of the world's economy, has been seen as symbolic of the concerted effort to counter the increasingly protectionist steps taken by U.S. President Donald Trump.

India, Japan to introduce artificial intelligence, robotics in defence sector


NEW DELHI: India and Japan will work together to introduce artificial intelligence and robotics in the defence sector, the next level of strategic cooperation between the two Asian partners. Kentaro Sonoura, Japan's state minister for foreign affairs and a close adviser to PM Shinzo Abe, told TOI in an exclusive chat, "You should expect to see increased bilateral cooperation between us to develop unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and robotics." The strategic sphere is where the bulk of India-Japan convergence lies. After the nuclear agreement was ratified by the Japanese parliament late 2017, Sonoura said India and Japan would be setting up a joint task force for commercial agreements by the end of January. With the legislation behind them, the Japanese minister said Tokyo was keen to get this going.