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International relations

Japan and EU name Taiwan in joint statement for first time

Leaders also discuss China's maritime expansion, Senkakus and Olympics

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks with European leaders via video link on May 27. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Cabinet Public Relations Office)

TOKYO -- Japan and the European Union affirmed the "importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" in a statement Thursday, marking the first time the two sides have jointly spoken about the self-ruled island.

The statement came after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga held an online summit with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Japan and the EU last held a bilateral summit two years ago, under then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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