The 3rd Sri Lanka –Japan Dialogue on Maritime Security, Safety and Oceanic Issues was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo, the Foreign Ministry said today.
The Dialogue forms an important pillar of cooperation envisaged in the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries concluded during the official visit of Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to Japan in 2015.
The importance of cooperation in the areas of maritime security, safety and oceanic issues continues to be emphasized in subsequent high level visits made by Sri Lankan leaders to Japan.
Both countries have committed to expanding cooperation in these areas in order to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight and maintain maritime order based on the rule of law including unimpeded commerce.
The discussion at the Dialogue centred on the areas of the situation in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, cooperation on ports and shipping, cooperation in the areas of maritime safety and security and regional multilateral initiatives.
Appreciation was expressed by the Government of Sri Lanka for the extensive support extended by the Government of Japan to improve the maritime safety capabilities of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard including through the provision of two patrol vessels and numerous training opportunities.
During the meeting, the two sides agreed to enhance collaboration between the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces and the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force and Sri Lanka Coast Guard.
The two sides also discussed augmented cooperation in multilateral frameworks including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) recognizing the importance of increased engagement in these fora.
The Sri Lanka delegation to the Dialogue was led by Ms. Sashikala Premawardhane, Director General, Ocean Affairs and Climate Change division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the delegation of Japan was headed by Shogo Yoshitake, Director, Southwest Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
The Sri Lanka delegation consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Ports and Shipping, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Office of Chief of Defence Staff, Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Air Force and the Sri Lanka Coast Guard. The Japanese delegation comprised representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of Japan in Colombo, Ministry of Defence, and the Japan Coast Guard. (Colombo Gazette)