Britain pushes for Japan UN security seat after meeting

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Britain on Tuesday backed Japan's claim for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and promised to support its economic integration with the EU after the two nations' foreign ministers met in London.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also told Takeaki Matsumoto, his Japanese counterpart, that Britain had "great admiration" for Japan's response to the March earthquake and tsunami which devastated the country's northeast coast.

"Japan is unquestionably our closest partner in Asia," Hague said in a statement.

"Japan is a like-minded partner and a positive force in international peace and security and I repeat our support again today for an enlarged United Nations Security Council with a permanent seat for Japan," he added.

Britain in March urged the European Union to ease barriers between the bloc and its outside trading partners, and used Tuesday's meeting to repeat its demands.

"The removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers could deliver over 40 billion euros ($59.2 billion) of additional European exports to Japan and more than 50 billion euros of additional exports from Japan to the EU," argued Hague.

The pair agreed to "support the people of Libya in their aspiration to be rid of a dictator" and on the "vital need to achieve a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict".

Addressing the quake, Hague said: "We feel great friendship and affinity with the Japanese people in this hour of tragedy... and we have great admiration for the resilience and dignity and courage of the people of Japan."

© 2011 AFP

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