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Japan's 'medical diplomacy' in ASEAN aims to sap China clout

Foreign Minister Motegi on whirlwind tour of Southeast Asia to offer help

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi is visiting Southeast Asia this week to explain Japan's COVID-19-related assistance.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has embarked on an expansive tour of Southeast Asia, offering medical assistance to help countries contain the spread of the coronavirus.

It is only his second overseas trip since the pandemic outbreak, following a visit to the U.K. earlier this month, where he advanced negotiations for a trade deal and discussed with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab ways to enhance security in the Indo-Pacific region to counter China's increased maritime activity. Motegi is thought to have discussed ways to strengthen intelligence sharing with the Five Eyes alliance of the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

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