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2015年11月22日 (日)

日米首脳会談 中国の海洋進出に連携対処を

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Deepen Japan-U.S. cooperation to handle China’s maritime advances
日米首脳会談 中国の海洋進出に連携対処を

Japan and the United States must work closely together and play a leading role in both the political and economic fields to maintain order in Asia.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama held talks in Manila and agreed to enhance mutual cooperation in dealing with issues related to artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea.

During the summit talks, Obama expressed his intention to continue the U.S. Navy’s patrol operations within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands. They will be carried out as routine activities, he said.

Abe expressed support for the U.S. patrol operations and told Obama he would “consider the possibility of the Self-Defense Forces conducting operations in the area while examining the impact of the situation on Japan’s national security.”

China must be stopped from carrying out large-scale reclamation in the area and turning the artificial islands into military bases based on self-serving logic in violation of international law. Japan and the United States have to cooperate with Southeast Asian nations and patiently call on China to exercise self-restraint and improve the situation.

The U.S. Navy’s operations are significant to prevent China’s unilateral attempt to change the status quo from becoming established fact. Even if it is not participating in them, Japan should provide indirect support for the U.S. operations. The Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy have built strong mutual trust through joint exercises, and joint reconnaissance and surveillance operations, over a long period.

Japan must also try to help the navies and coast guards of the Philippines and other countries in the area develop their capabilities through official development assistance.

Abe pledges Futenma progress

Abe also told Obama that his administration would proceed resolutely with the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture to the Henoko district. Obama thanked Abe and expressed his intention to work with Tokyo in returning U.S. military facilities in the prefecture to Japan, among other issues.

It is important for Abe to maintain his stance of proceeding steadily with the relocation. Any attempt to seek an entirely new solution will further complicate the issue and only delay the removal of the dangers posed by the Futenma Air Station.

Obama praised the passage of security-related laws in Japan, saying they are historic achievements. He also said the United States strongly supported the Japan-South Korea bilateral meeting that was achieved recently.

In reply, Abe expressed his intention to strengthen cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

The cooperation of the three countries is essential for security in the northeast Asian region. Japan and the United States must keep urging South Korea to take positive steps toward that goal.

Referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, the prime minister said Japan and the United States’ leadership of the negotiations made it possible for the countries involved to reach a broad agreement. Obama said the TPP pact would drastically change the global environment and the next challenge was how the pact could be brought into effect and implemented.

It is significant that Japan and the United States have led the formulation of free, fair and transparent rules on trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Taking the future expansion of participating countries into consideration, the countries concerned must try to ratify and implement the TPP pact as soon as possible.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 21, 2015)


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