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U.S. should be at center of CPTPP, Japanese foreign minister says

Hayashi vows to beef up defense, strengthen alliance with Washington

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks at the Mount Fuji Dialogue in Tokyo on Oct. 22. (Photo by Kosuke Imamura)

TOKYO -- The U.S. should return to the broad cross-Pacific free trade agreement it helped to forge, Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Saturday, as rising geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific make strengthening cooperation a priority.

"I know I'll be disliked for saying this, but it is the U.S. that shaped the TPP into its current form of strategic importance," Hayashi told a symposium in Tokyo, referring to the pact now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Washington had spearheaded the deal before then-President Donald Trump withdrew in 2017, in one of his first acts in office.

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