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2013年10月12日 (土)

東アジア会議 海洋安定へ秩序作りが急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 12, 2013
Code of conduct urgently needed to ensure maritime security in Asia
東アジア会議 海洋安定へ秩序作りが急務だ(10月11日付・読売社説)

China’s forcible way of expanding its maritime activity was again the target of much criticism at this year’s East Asia Summit meeting. It is necessary to establish a maritime order under which ships can navigate freely and peacefully.

The EAS was held Thursday in Brunei with leaders in attendance from 18 countries, including Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States, plus the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

It was very natural that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasized the need to respect the principle of freedom of navigation on the seas, which he said are the property of the global community. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry echoed Abe’s view, saying freedom of navigation is essential for Pacific security.

Leaders from 11 countries reportedly referred to the sovereignty issue in the South China Sea and a code of conduct legally restricting the actions of China and ASEAN members there. Awareness of the necessity of formulating rules to ensure security in the South China Sea is spreading. This security has been endangered by sovereignty issues, such as the ones over the Spratly Islands.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang brushed aside these assertions, saying the South China Sea has had and will continue to have freedom of navigation. China has agreed to hold discussions to work out a code of conduct but stopped short of presenting a concrete plan.

China’s maritime ambitions

Undoubtedly, Beijing is still aiming to expand its sphere of influence at sea.

Since the inauguration of Xi Jinping’s administration in March, China has ostensibly taken a conciliatory stance toward ASEAN. China has been employing “smiling diplomacy” backed by its economic power by calling on ASEAN members to expand economic cooperation and conclude good neighbor and friendship treaties, while not making concessions on the sovereignty issue.

The move is believed to be aimed at alleviating ASEAN members’ wariness toward China and preventing them from strengthening ties with Japan and the United States. Some ASEAN members have begun backing away from confrontational stances against Beijing on establishing a code of conduct and other issues.

In a series of international meetings held in Brunei and Bali, Indonesia, discussions between Abe and Xi or Li could not be realized. No prospects are in sight of improving Japan-China relations.

China has yet to show a sincere stance in dealing with Japan.

In a recent lecture in the United States, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said some Japanese politicians think Japan lost World War II due to the U.S. atomic bombing and believe Japan can do anything as long as it doesn’t invoke the wrath of the United States. These are irrelevant remarks that distort the facts.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga brushed aside the statement, saying it “represents propaganda based only on the standpoint of his country and is not worthy of comment.” Japan should not hesitate to engage in a propaganda war with China.

We cannot overlook the fact that China has made groundless assertions repeatedly while ignoring the postwar progress of Japan as a pacifist nation and its international contributions.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2013)
(2013年10月11日01時38分  読売新聞)


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