TOKYO, 24 JANUARY 2020 (NHK WORLD) — Japan’s defense minister has decided to hold a meeting with defense chiefs from Pacific island nations in connection with China’s growing maritime presence in the region.

The ministry is to invite officials, including the defense ministers of Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Tonga, to the conference in Tokyo in April. Invitations are expected to extend to representatives of the United States, Australia, and France.

It is the first time for the Defense Ministry to host an international conference of multiple nations’ ministers.

Participants will likely discuss security issues toward achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific region amid China’s maritime activities in the East China Sea and elsewhere. They are also expected to talk about cooperation between the countries in the event of natural disasters….(PACNEWS)