Fm Kono Visits South Pacific Island Nations

FM Kono visits South Pacific island nations

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono is aiming to boost maritime security cooperation during a tour of four South Pacific island nations.

Kono is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit the region in 32 years. He will travel to the Marshall Islands on Thursday.

China has been increasing its influence in the South Pacific by investing in major infrastructure projects.

On Wednesday, Kono held talks in Micronesia's capital of Palikir with President David Panuelo. They agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in a range of areas, including tuna fishing and other maritime issues.

On Tuesday, he visited Palau and met the state minister, Faustina Rehuher-Marugg. Kono agreed to cooperate with Palau on strengthening coast guard capabilities. The two ministers also discussed ways to attract more tourists.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kono visited Peleliu Island to offer flowers at a monument to the war dead. The island was a battlefield during World War Two.