NHK interview: UK minister urges pause in Gaza fighting

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said his country is calling for a pause in the Israel-Hamas conflict to allow more humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

Cleverly spoke in an exclusive interview with NHK in Tokyo on Tuesday. He is visiting Japan for a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers.

He said Britain has urged countries that have ties with Hamas to persuade the Islamic group to stop attacks on Israel.

Cleverly noted that a halt to the fighting can be achieved only when both sides trust each other, so that humanitarian supplies can be delivered into Gaza.

While the civilian death toll in Gaza is rising, Cleverly said Israel has the right to defend itself, but it "must defend itself within the framework of international law."

He said that although Israel claims its forces are operating within that framework, Britain will continue to raise the issue and call on Israel to abide by international law.

Cleverly also spoke on bilateral ties between Britain and Japan. The two countries held a "two-plus-two" meeting with attendance of foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo on Tuesday.

He stressed that his country's relationship with Japan is incredibly important for the prosperity and safety of both sides. He added that it is part of Britain's enhanced focus on the Indo-Pacific region and building friendships.