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Japan, Indonesia agree to work closely to resolve Myanmar crisis

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The foreign ministers of Japan and Indonesia agreed on Monday to cooperate closely to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, sharing “deep concerns” over the killings of peaceful protesters since the military seized power in a coup in February.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, in talks with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, in Tokyo, “strongly condemned” the continued violence against protesters in Myanmar which left huge injuries and injuries, especially on Saturday, said said the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

As of Saturday alone, at least 114 people were reportedly killed by security forces, making it the bloodiest day of protests since the military seized power in a February 1 coup.

The death toll from the crackdown on anti-coup protests reached 459 on Sunday, according to a daily toll released by a human rights group monitoring the situation in the country.

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During the meeting, Motegi said that Japan welcomes the efforts made by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to improve the situation in Myanmar, including the leadership shown by Indonesia, a major power of the 10-member bloc, according to the ministry.

Since the coup, Indonesia has sought a peaceful resolution to the crisis, calling for a special ASEAN summit meeting, including in Myanmar, even as the bloc defends the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other ASEAN member countries.

Japan, meanwhile, is seeking to play a “unique role” in efforts to restore Myanmar’s democratic political system, including putting pressure on the Burmese military with which Tokyo maintains relations.

The two ministers met ahead of the security talks Tuesday in Tokyo, which will also be attended by Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto. Measures to counter China’s growing maritime assertiveness will be a key item on the agenda of the so-called two plus two talks.

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Regarding China, Motegi and Retno shared deep concerns over unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas, including the enactment of a new Chinese law that allows its coast guard to shoot. ships entering what it considers its waters, the ministry said.

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Japan is troubled by repeated intrusions by Chinese Coast Guard vessels into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea in an apparent attempt to undermine control of Tokyo. China claims the group of uninhabited islets, calling them Diaoyu.

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Indonesia, meanwhile, continued to protest to China against illegal fishing by Chinese fishing vessels, accompanied by Chinese Coast Guard vessels, after entering the exclusive economic zone claimed by Indonesia in the waters north of the Natuna Islands.

The ministers also agreed to cooperate to improve connectivity in the region, with Motegi expressing the possibility that Japan will grant 70 billion yen ($ 638 million) in low-interest loans for the development of the port of Patimban, a new international seaport east of Jakarta, according to the ministry.

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