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2014年6月 2日 (月)

首相アジア演説 積極平和主義の実行が重要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:44 pm, June 01, 2014
Abe’s Singapore address stresses need for ‘proactive contribution to peace’
首相アジア演説 積極平和主義の実行が重要だ

To ensure freedom of navigation and overflights in Asia and the maintenance of the rule of law in the region, Japan must pursue to the fullest a policy of engagement and international contribution. How the country addresses the challenge will be a key touchstone to Japan’s “proactive contribution to peace” being upheld by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Friday, Abe delivered a keynote address titled “Peace and prosperity in Asia, forevermore” at the Asia Security Summit being held in Singapore.

In the speech, he emphasized the importance of peaceful solutions to international disputes based on international law and not dependent on the use or threat of force. Abe also expressed his support for the idea of upgrading the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to a legally binding code of conduct.

Abe’s reference to the declaration was made in light of the current confrontation between China and Vietnam concerning the sovereignty over the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

China has unilaterally started oil-drilling operations in disputed waters near the islands, and caused a Vietnamese fishing boat to sink in a collision with a Chinese fishing vessel.

These are in the same vein as Beijing’s efforts to consolidate changes to the status quo through such means as the unilateral establishment in November 2013 of an air defense identification zone and having two Chinese fighter jets fly extraordinarily close to two Self-Defense Forces planes on May 24.

To stem China’s attempts to “change the status quo through force,” it is imperative for this country to work closely with the United States and ASEAN member countries to tenaciously push China into restraining its behavior.

Expand multilateral framework

In the keynote address, Abe unveiled a proposal for reinvigorating the East Asia Summit in which 18 countries—including Japan, the United States and China—have taken part, while calling for the creation of a permanent organization aimed at studying methods of multilayered collaboration between the EAS, the ASEAN Regional Forum and defense ministerial meetings in Asia.

For the purpose of crafting a set of international rules for regional security and pressing China to abide by the rules, Abe’s aim of beefing up the framework for multilateral consultations of the region, including China, should be deemed reasonable.

The country should continue its diplomatic efforts to obtain understanding from countries concerned through a series of talks to realize Abe’s proposals toward an ARF meeting scheduled for this summer and an EAS meeting scheduled for autumn.

It is also important to help boost the maritime security capabilities of Southeast Asian countries.

Abe, for that matter, expressed in the keynote speech Japan’s readiness to provide Vietnam with coast guard patrol ships, in addition to making a similar pledge to Indonesia and the Philippines.

The prime minister also indicated Japan’s plans to enhance defense equipment cooperation with ASEAN members through arms exports for such purposes as search and rescue operations, warning and surveillance, and transport on the basis of the three principles on transfer of defense equipment and technology that the government adopted in April.

Extending support for ASEAN in the field of security to make contributions to peace in Asia will surely be conducive to helping ensure Japan’s own peace and security. Achieving a “proactive contribution to peace” is of key significance.

It is also of great importance for Japan to heighten the effectiveness of supporting ASEAN through cooperation with the United States, rather than acting single-handedly. In addition, efforts are needed to expand the country’s assistance to ASEAN not only in material terms such as the provision of patrol boats, but also nonmaterial aspects such as helping to train and nurture coast guard service personnel.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 1, 2014)


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