Japan, U.S. agree to cooperate over Iraq

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed Thursday to cooperate in ensuring stability in the escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq, according to the Foreign Ministry.

In telephone talks, Kishida told Kerry that it is important for Iraq to respect the rights of all citizens regardless of sectarian differences and to achieve national unity through the creation of a new government, the ministry said in a news release.

Kishida briefed Kerry about negotiations between Japan and North Korea on the abduction issue, and they affirmed continued trilateral coordination involving Japan, the United States and South Korea against North Korea.

The two men also agreed to advance cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in ensuring maritime security, and to support the 10-member ASEAN's unified response to China's increased territorial claims in the South China Sea.

To this end, Kishida and Kerry agreed to cooperate at the ASEAN Regional Forum, a regional security meeting involving foreign ministers of ASEAN and its dialogue partners, slated for August in Myanmar.

Kishida and Kerry also discussed the latest situation in Ukraine.