Japanese Defense Minister inspects UK carrier

Japanese Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo says he will promote cooperation with his British counterparts to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Kishi made the comments on Monday after inspecting the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The ship is docked at a US Naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo.

Kishi met with the commander of the UK carrier strike group led by the vessel, and exchanged opinions.

The Queen Elizabeth left Britain in May. Last month, it took part in a joint exercise with Japan's Self-Defense Forces and US forces in waters south of Okinawa. It made a port call at the US base on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Kishi referred to attempts currently seen in the East and South China seas to change maritime order without being based on international law.

He said concerns expressed by European nations over such actions, as well as their presence in the area, contribute to regional peace and stability.

Kishi said a port call by the UK carrier strike group to Japan has great significance. He noted he believes their cooperation with Japan will help maintain and strengthen a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Earlier in the day, Kishi also inspected a frigate from the Netherlands, which is among the ships led by the British carrier and is docked at a Maritime Self-Defense Force base in Yokosuka.

Last Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin referred to the dispatch of the UK carrier strike group and its joint drill with Japan and the US.

He said, "The practice of saber-rattling is not constructive. We hope relevant countries will play a constructive role in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, rather than doing the opposite."