Kyrgyz president says he hopes for better ties with Japan

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov says his country will seek better relations with Japan through a regional cooperation framework proposed by Tokyo.

Japarov spoke to NHK in Tokyo on Monday during his first official visit to Japan.

Japarov thanked Japan for its long-running contributions to the development of Kyrgyzstan. He says his country is seeking a new form of cooperation with Japanese partners, expressing hope for deeper cooperation on modernizing its hydropower generation system and tackling climate change.

Japarov said preparations are underway for a summit in Kazakhstan next year involving Japan and five Central Asian nations. He said Kyrgyzstan is seeking to strengthen ties with Japan through the Japanese-proposed cooperation framework.

The former Soviet Union country has maintained close economic and security ties with Russia, despite its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Kyrgyzstan has also expanded economic ties with China, which last year became the largest trading partner for the country.

Japarov stressed that his country remains neutral on conflicts taking place in the world. He said any conflicts should be peacefully resolved by diplomatic means under the Charter of the United Nations.

Japarov said Kyrgyzstan's trade and economic relations with its partners are affected by the current "complex" geopolitical situation and sanctions imposed by some countries. He added that his country is looking for a new logistics route, in light of Western sanctions on Russia.

Japarov also highlighted the importance of China's Belt and Road Initiative for his country. He said the initiative will allow Kyrgyzstan to make a foray into global markets as a transit country.