UK Prime Minister May seeks to reassure Japan on Brexit

AP , Thursday 31 Aug 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May sought to reassure Japanese business leaders about Brexit on Thursday, saying she is laying the foundation to take the bilateral trade and investment relationship to "a whole new level" as the U.K. leaves the European Union.

"This is a formative period in shaping the future of my country," she said in remarks to a Japan-U.K. business forum.

She pledged that Britain would deepen trade relations and become even more outward-looking post-Brexit. "There are few places where the opportunities of doing so are greater than Japan, the third-largest economy in the world," she said.

Some Japanese companies with factories in the United Kingdom are worried about their ability to export to the rest of Europe after Brexit. Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, and triggered the formal two-year exit process in March.

May, on the second day of a three-day visit to Japan, boarded a Japanese warship to underscore her country's deepening security ties with Japan.

She and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met on the Izumo at a naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo.

"My visit today is a sign of the growing cooperation and partnership that we have on defense matters," May said in comments broadcast on Japanese TV.

She later attended a meeting of Japan's National Security Council.

May is visiting Japan for the first time as prime minister.

She met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. The two agreed to urge China to step up pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear weapons development, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

Late Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that unlike its critics, Beijing sought not only to impose sanctions on North Korea but also to promote talks aimed at preserving peace on the peninsula.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. The test, which was met with wide condemnation, came less than a month after the U.N. Security Council imposed its toughest-yet sanctions on North Korea.

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