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WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to promote cooperation on security, and confirmed their intention to hold a “two-plus-two” foreign and defense ministerial meeting soon, in their first face-to-face meeting Thursday in Washington.

Suga said, “Mr. Modi is an important partner to realize a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific.’”

Modi said that the bilateral relationship has become more relevant, not only for the two countries but also for global and regional stability and prosperity.

During their 45-minute meeting, the two leaders agreed to strengthen relations in the Indo-Pacific region and work together on creating an international order based on the rule of law.

With China in mind, they agreed to strongly oppose economic coercion and unilateral changes to the status quo in the East and South China seas.

Suga said, “North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile activities threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region and the international community,” adding that full implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions is essential.

Suga also sought India’s cooperation on resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

In addition to the security issues, they agreed to cooperate on COVID-19 measures, digital technology and climate change.

Specifically, Suga said the bilateral cooperation covers such areas as 5G communications networks, undersea cables, supply chains and talent exchanges in information technology.

Suga arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on a government plane Thursday afternoon.

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