North Korea, EU-Japanese relations on agenda as Abe meets Borissov in Sofia

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has categorically condemned North Korea’s launching of nuclear missiles and that country’s nuclear programme, following talks in Sofia with visiting Japanese counterpart Shinzō Abe.

Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe was on an unprecedented visit to Sofia, the first to the Bulgarian capital by a Japanese head of government.

“We believe firmly that all problems should be resolved at the negotiating table,” Borissov said in reference to the Korea issue, after talks with Abe.

In the context of Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, to last throughout the first half of 2018, Borissov said that his country would spare no effort to accelerate negotiations between the EU and see them completed. This was very important for business in Bulgaria, Borissov said.

Abe, who is accompanied on his visit to Bulgaria by a Japanese business delegation representing more than 30 companies from his country, called for stronger economic relations between the two countries.

The Japanese head of government said that he would seek the approval of Borissov and the business delegation to go ahead with a Japanese business forum to explore further Japanese investment in Bulgaria.

According to Borissov, a meeting between business representatives from the two countries had discussed the possibilities for bilateral co-operation in the electronics, motor vehicle, tourism, culture and agricultural industries.

Borissov noted that, in addition to Bulgaria’s EU Presidency, in 2018 Bulgaria would host the 16 + 1 initiative on co-operation between Central and Eastern Europe and China.

Abe told the news conference that he and Borissov had agreed on the importance of close co-operation regarding Korea and an expeditious solution to the problem of the abductions of Japanese citizens.

The Japanese prime minister emphasised to his Bulgaria counterpart that Tokyo is a keen supporter of a highly cohesive Europe.

Abe said that Japan was focusing on the of the Balkan region and “with this visit we have created a co-operation initiative for the Western Balkans. We hope that with the help of Bulgaria we will continue our contacts with the whole region”.

He expressed hope that this first visit would amount to a new opportunity to develop relations between the two countries and lead to a deepening of the links between them in politics, economy, culture and sport.



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.