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2011年11月16日 (水)

日米・日中会談 アジア安定へ戦略的な外交を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 16, 2011)
Relations with U.S., China call for determined diplomacy
日米・日中会談 アジア安定へ戦略的な外交を(11月15日付・読売社説)

It is essential for Japan to pursue strategic diplomacy with the United States and China if effective international rules are to be worked out to ensure peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Honolulu Saturday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and explained to him a government plan to submit to Okinawa Prefecture within this year an environmental assessment report on the planned facilities to replace the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station in the prefecture.

Obama expressed hope for further progress in settling the relocation issue while welcoming the Japanese plan.

However, Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima is calling for the base to be relocated outside the prefecture.
To change Nakaima's stance, the prime minister himself must display a firm determination to resolve the issue.
Noda must hammer out a comprehensive agreement with the prefecture on such subjects as promoting the regional economy and reducing the burdens borne by the prefecture in hosting U.S. military forces.

The government must work toward further reinforcement of the Japan-U.S. alliance while making steady efforts to settle such important issues as the Futenma relocation and relaxation of import restrictions on U.S. beef.

A good chance to achieve this goal will be an official visit by Noda to the United States that is now being arranged for January.


U.S. tilting toward Asia

Obama, who likes to point out that "the United States is a Pacific nation," has been placing more importance on U.S. relations with Asia in both the political and economic areas.

This is represented by his policy of maintaining and reinforcing U.S. troops stationed in Asia and promoting Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Concerning an East Asia Summit meeting set for this weekend, Noda and Obama agreed that ideas and basic rules common to the Asia-Pacific region would be confirmed and the EAS could develop into a forum to work out concrete cooperation projects.

Tokyo and Washington are concerned about how to respond to Beijing.

China has been rapidly enhancing its influence and becoming more assertive, increasing frictions with other countries in the South China Sea.

To lead China in the direction of complying with international rules and working together with its neighbors in the medium and long term, Japan and the United States must closely cooperate with South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asian countries.

Along with these efforts, it is essential to hold frequent and constructive dialogues with China.

In their summit over the weekend in Hawaii, Noda and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to deepen strategic and mutually beneficial bilateral ties.

They also agreed on Noda visiting China before the end of the year.


Reciprocity must be visible

But concerning the resumption of suspended negotiations on the joint development of natural gas fields in the East China Sea, Hu avoided making a clear commitment, merely saying preparations would be made.

The gas field development issue needs to be moved toward a solution to improve bilateral relations, which have been stagnant since the incident last autumn in which a Chinese fishing boat rammed Japan Coast Guard patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands.

It is also necessary to accelerate bilateral negotiations toward an emergency contact system to deal with incidents at sea.

Referring to North Korea, Hu pointed out that "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a common interest of the countries concerned."

China must fulfill its responsibility as the chair of six-party talks on the matter.

Visible reciprocity is a must if next year's 40th anniversary of normalized relations between Japan and China is to be fruitful.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 15, 2011)
(2011年11月15日01時11分  読売新聞)


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