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2013年11月20日 (水)

ASEAN外交 安保・経済で戦略的な連携に

The Yomiuri Shimbun November 20, 2013
Build strategic ties with ASEAN in security, economic fields
ASEAN外交 安保・経済で戦略的な連携に(11月19日付・読売社説)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stepped up efforts to reinforce ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

We applaud his efforts for serving as a check against China, which has been increasing its military and economic presence, and for their strategic importance in ensuring regional stability.

Abe visited Cambodia and Laos on Saturday and Sunday, completing visits to all 10 ASEAN member nations in less than one year since he took office.

During his latest swing through the region, Abe explained his government’s diplomatic policies, saying Japan will contribute to world peace through proactive pacifism based on the principle of international cooperation.

Leaders of Cambodia and Laos hailed Japan’s postwar progress as a pacifist nation and supported Abe’s diplomatic stance. They also agreed to promote security dialogue between Japan and their countries. Deepening mutual understanding through such endeavors has great significance.

It was also decided that Japan will help train Cambodian personnel who will participate in U.N. peacekeeping operations. Self-Defense Forces personnel were dispatched to Cambodia in 1992 in Japan’s first U.N. peacekeeping mission. Sharing the SDF’s expertise in road construction and maintenance could contribute to deepening bilateral security cooperation.

In a series of meetings, discussions were held on the situation in the South China Sea, where China is locked in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Asian nations. Abe and the Cambodian and Laotian leaders concurred on the need to finalize as soon as possible the code of conduct that ASEAN and China have been discussing.

A code of conduct, which has legal binding power, would aim to use international rules to curb any Chinese use of force to expand its maritime interests.

Japan, U.S. back code

Japan and the United States support efforts to compile this code, but China has been lukewarm on the matter. Beijing has been trying to curry favor with Cambodia, Laos and other pro-China ASEAN countries, thereby inducing a split among the group’s members.

But now that Cambodia and Laos have shown a positive attitude toward this code of conduct, Tokyo expects it will have a favorable effect on ASEAN’s unity.

The is not a matter of someone else’s business for Japan, given that this nation has been the target of China’s saber-rattling over the Senkaku Islands.

Harnessing the vigor of Southeast Asia’s remarkable economic growth will be indispensable for promoting the Abe administration’s growth strategy. It was natural that Abe said at a news conference in Laos, “Japan’s growth cannot be achieved without ASEAN’s.”

In the health and medical treatment fields, a memorandum was signed on introducing Japanese-style medical care. This is expected to increase exports of Japanese drugs and medical equipment.

Japan plays a major role in ASEAN market integration. Intergovernmental negotiations should be accelerated to create an environment that can facilitate more investment by Japanese businesses.

Japan and ASEAN have a profound relationship, and this year marks the 40 anniversary of bilateral friendship and cooperation. Japan will host a special summit meeting with ASEAN leaders in Tokyo in mid-December. We hope this will be an opportunity to further buttress Japan-ASEAN ties.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2013)
(2013年11月19日02時17分  読売新聞)


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