Japan, EU leaders discuss China, Taiwan Strait

Leaders of Japan and the European Union have underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait amid China's growing maritime presence in the region.

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide discussed China with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during an online conference on Thursday.

They confirmed their strong opposition to Beijing's unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

China enacted a law in February authorizing its coast guard to use weapons in waters Beijing considers to be under its jurisdiction.

Suga and the EU leaders agreed to encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues.

They also agreed to work together to help the EU expand its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. That comes as China's rapid rise fuels the bloc's interest in the region.

Suga expressed gratitude to the EU leaders as all exports of coronavirus vaccine doses from the EU to Japan have been approved so far.

Suga called for continued smooth vaccine exports from the EU, and the EU leaders showed their understanding.