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Japan, Asean can play 'proactive role for peace', says Abe
Publication Date : 13-12-2013
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has always been “at the centre” of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s diplomacy, and he hopes the regional body will play a more proactive role for global peace and prosperity, Abe said in an English article he contributed exclusively for The Japan News on Thursday ahead of a key Asean-Japan summit meeting.
“Ever since I assumed the office of prime minister at the end of last year, I have been conducting strategic diplomacy looking over the entire globe, and Asean has always been at the center of my diplomacy as a special partner for Japan,” Abe said in his article titled, “A future vision for Asean and Japan.”
He added that it was a "great pleasure and honor" to host the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, which is a centerpiece of events held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of relations between Asean and Japan.
In an indication of the value Abe attaches to ties with Asean, he has visited all 10 member states since he became prime minister in December last year.
Although Abe did not mention China by name, he apparently referred to Beijing’s recent declaration of an air defence identification zone over the East China Sea that covers the Senkaku Islands, and stressed the necessity of Japan-Asean cooperation to counter China’s move to change the status quo in the region by force.
“Asean and Japan share the high seas that stretch between the two,” Abe said. “The same can be said for the air space above. There is no need to mention how significantly important it is for Asean as an entity to ensure and promote fundamental values such as freedom, democracy and human rights and rule of law in order to maintain peace and stability of the region.”
Abe said he believes Japan and Asean, through their commitment to the renunciation of the threat or use of force or coercion, and to peaceful dispute resolutions, can play a more "proactive role for peace, stability and prosperity" in the whole global community.
Abe said he will explain to Asean leaders his policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” for regional and global stability and security based on Japan’s commitment to international cooperation and its postwar endeavors as a peace-loving nation.
In the economic sphere, Abe said Asean had become a vital production center for many Japanese companies. He stressed it is crucial for Japan to harness the economic vitality of Asean to boost its economy, saying this will also benefit Asean.
“Asean has grown tremendously in the last 40 years and has now become the world’s market and a center for service industries,” Abe said. It is "indispensable" for Japan to tap into the energy and vitality of the growing markets in Asean to help revitalise the Japanese economy as part of his "Abenomics" policies.
He is confident that rejuvenating the Japanese economy will benefit the region and the global economy, he added.
“The Asean-Japan partnership has great potential to be realised further,” the prime minister said. “The summit will serve as a catalytic opportunity to deepen and enhance the future partnership between Japan and Asean.”