07:06 GMT28 October 2020
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    Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka. The visit is expected to enhance the defense cooperation between the two countries amid the growing assertiveness of China in the Indian Ocean region. In addition to seeking maritime cooperation, Japan is helping Sri Lanka fulfill several economic projects.

    Japan and Sri Lanka have agreed to further enhance maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean. The understanding was reached during a meeting between the visiting Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Japan has also pledged assistance to develop Sri Lanka's maritime security. This is the first-ever visit by a Japanese Defense Minister to Sri Lanka.

    The visiting Japanese Minister is also scheduled to visit Chinese-built and operated Hambantota Port in Southern Sri Lanka as well as the proposed new port in Trincomalee which is to be developed with Japanese and Indian assistance.  

    Meanwhile, the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ship Ikazuchi has also arrived at Trincomalee Harbor. The ship is on a three-day official visit to Sri Lanka.

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    The Mission Commander of the ship Captain Royoko Azuma, along with other officers, paid a courtesy call on Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sumith Weerasinghe at the Eastern Naval Command Headquarters and held cordial discussions focusing on enhancing bilateral cooperation, a statement from the Sri Lankan Navy read.

    During the three-day stay, the ship's crew is scheduled to take part in various activities to enhance mutual cooperation between the Japanese and Sri Lankan Navies.





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    naval cooperation, maritime security, port, development, Maithripala Sirisena, Itsunori Onodera, Japan, Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka
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