Foreign Secretary James Cleverly meeting G7 partners in Japan and visiting Pacific islands to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

  • Foreign Secretary will meet G7 partners in Karuizawa, Japan this week.
  • Discussions will focus on accelerating support for Ukraine, ensuring a free and open Pacific region and promoting the Government’s priority of increasing economic growth.
  • Visiting the Pacific islands, Cleverly will listen to and offer support for regional priorities, in particular climate change.

Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, arrives in Japan today (Sunday 16 April) for the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting ahead of a four-day visit to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. The combined visit will focus on promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific – as the region becomes the centre of growing geopolitical competition.

At the three-day G7 conference (16-18 April) in Karuizawa, Cleverly will meet G7 Foreign Ministers, including the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi, to discuss closer ties around security and defence. He will also discuss opportunities presented by the UK’s recent accession to the CPTPP trade agreement, which strengthens the UK’s global trading relationship with its partners in the region and will help drive growth across the country in line with the Government’s five priorities.

Cleverly will also announce that the UK will join the US, Japan and Australia as a member of the Blue Dot Network which will give a quality mark to infrastructure projects, promoting higher standards. It will operate globally, including in emerging markets, as a recognised symbol of quality and therefore will attract private sector investment and public support.

The gap between infrastructure needs and finance has been growing and is forecast to reach US$15 trillion by 2040. This initiative aims to start narrowing that gap, promoting quality investment in projects across the world that are in desperate need of funding – from transport improvements to upgrading hospitals, schools and expanding access to reliable electricity.

Cleverly will then travel to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, before joining the New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta for a joint programme in Samoa. They will then travel on to Wellington together for engagements on Saturday.

During his visit to the Pacific islands, Cleverly will announce financial support and the deployment of UK expertise to the region, chiefly for regional priorities such as climate change. This includes £4.5m of new funding to connect communities in Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific to clean energy sources – providing an alternative to common but expensive and polluting generators.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

With increasing competition in the region, it is more important than ever that we promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. It is critical to the UK, to our economy, our security and our values.  Throughout my visit, I will build on commitments to our friends across the Pacific nations in their bid to promote peace and prosperity in the region.

At the G7, the Foreign Ministers will also discuss the need to maintain collective support for Ukraine and how international support from the UK and other G7 partners can be used most strategically to help Ukrainian forces continue their progress on the battlefield and secure a lasting peace.

The visit comes following the announcement that the UK will join the regional trading bloc – CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) – as its first European member. The bloc is one of the largest free trade areas in the world, home to more 500 million people and will be worth 15% of global GDP once the UK joins. It is estimated that joining will boost the UK economy by £1.8 billion in the long run.

Joining CPTPP will also support further jobs and create opportunities for companies by giving British businesses improved access to the countries that will be gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific region, which is projected to make up the majority of global growth in the future.

The Integrated Review Refresh published in March 2023 set out how the UK will prioritise the Indo-Pacific through a long-term strategic footing, making the region a permanent pillar of the UK’s international policy.

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Published 16 April 2023