5 countries including Japan, US pledge cooperation with Pacific island nations

A group of five nations including Japan and the United States have agreed to continue to work together with Pacific island countries on shared principles, including regionalism and transparency.

Foreign ministers of the members of a new framework, which also includes Britain, Australia and New Zealand, met on Thursday in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Representatives from Pacific island nations such as Fiji, Palau and the Solomon Islands also attended the meeting.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa explained the measures Japan is taking to achieve a free and open Indo-Pacific. He also said Japan plans to support the island countries in tackling climate change and other challenges.

Hayashi told reporters that Japan will keep closely watching various moves in the Pacific region, and will support efforts by Pacific island nations.

The meeting came as China has been trying to increase its influence in the region. Beijing signed a security cooperation agreement with the Solomon Islands earlier this year.