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2011年10月16日 (日)

ASEAN外交 安保と経済両面で連携強化を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 16, 2011)
Govt must boost security, economic ties with ASEAN
ASEAN外交 安保と経済両面で連携強化を(10月15日付・読売社説)

To ensure peace and economic growth in Southeast Asia, it is crucial to curb China's growing assertiveness, while at the same time establishing cooperative relations with Beijing.

Japan must always play a large role in this respect.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba has just finished a tour of three countries: Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  玄葉外相が、シンガポール、マレーシア、インドネシアの3か国歴訪を終えた。

In a series of foreign ministerial talks during that tour, Gemba stressed Japan wants to step up efforts to "help create a stable framework for order in the Asia-Pacific area based on democratic values."

Specifically, Gemba agreed with his counterparts in the three nations to promote consultations and cooperation in the area of maritime security.

Their agreement came against the backdrop of territorial disputes between China and neighboring countries over the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is a highly important sea-lane for Japan, the safe navigation of which affects this country's national interests.

It is certainly appropriate for Japan to commit itself to stability in Southeast Asia.


Focus on East Asia Summit

A focus of discussions from now on is the East Asia Summit to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in November.

The gathering will bring together leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations' member countries, and from such countries as Japan and China.

Leaders of the United States and Russia will also take part in the meeting for the first time.

Regarding the forthcoming summit, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in the last extraordinary Diet session: "This country will convey a strong message during discussions among participating leaders on a range of subjects, including the formulation of basic rules for maritime security. I will be actively involved in the discussions."

What specifically should Japan do to ensure stability in Southeast Asia?

Gemba proposed one step to Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Friday: creating within the summit a consultative body on maritime security comprising high government officials and experts from the countries concerned.

Gemba's proposal is designed to encourage consultations from a broad viewpoint on a wide range of topics, such as the prevention of maritime conflicts, piracy and pollution of sea waters in the region.

The envisioned multilateral framework for negotiations may be conducive to creating rules for resolving conflicts in the area in the future.

Although China has expressed strong wariness, saying the envisaged framework is intended to contain China, the proposal is of course not aimed at isolating Beijing.


Infrastructure exports

Leaders of all major countries concerned will gather for straightforward talks at the summit, which will help nurture mutual confidence.

Japan should explain this aim to China in detail.

ASEAN has been moving toward the goal of launching an economic community in 2015 by liberalizing the flow of people, goods and money in the region.

High on the agenda in the summit conference between Japan and members of ASEAN, which is also scheduled for November, will be a package of measures to support moves for the planned economic community.

A joint declaration will be adopted at the summit, which will presumably incorporate Japan's official development assistance for improvement of such infrastructure as ports and harbors.

In his talks with Natalegawa and Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Gemba also expressed Japan's plans to expand exports to the region of social infrastructure, such as railways and city water systems, through coordination of this country's public and private sectors.

The government must buckle down and strategically help Japanese companies to expand their operations overseas and help them improve their business environment abroad.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 15, 2011)
(2011年10月15日01時31分  読売新聞)


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