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Editorial: Japan, U.S. should support ASEAN in resisting China

  • 2015-04-29 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
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(Sankei: April 29, 2015 – p. 2)

 

 The ASEAN Summit held in Malaysia issued a chairman’s statement indicating the member states “share serious concerns” on the forcible reef reclamation China is undertaking in the South China Sea.

 

 Most of the 10 ASEAN states have close economic ties with China and they differ individually in closeness of relations with China. We welcome the fact that despite such differences, they have united to have their voice heard on the South China Sea issues.

 

 It must be noted that Japan and the U.S. have also clearly expressed their concern about China’s maritime advances in disregard of international rules at about the same time. It is important for Japan and the U.S. to support ASEAN’s unity.

 

 China’s attempts to change the status quo in the South China Sea by force cannot be overlooked. Its claim that the greater part of this area is its territorial sea is also unfounded.

 

 While facing this immediate threat, the ASEAN countries have tended to avoid direct conflict with China in consideration of their economic interests. There had also been attempts to give consideration to China in the wording of the chairman’s statement.

 

 Evan Medeiros, senior director for Asia of the U.S. National Security Council, has indicated serious concern about China over the South China Sea issues. He set this as a topic in the agenda for the summit meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

 

 This issue was also taken up at the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2) meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of both countries that took place before the summit. The ministers agreed on the “importance of rule of law.”

 

 In a news conference after the 2+2, Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that the U.S. “rejects privileges of big states over small ones,” while Defense Minister Gen Nakatani stated that “the South China Sea is a matter of common concern for Japan and the U.S. and the region.”

 

 The revised Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Guidelines call for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in the international community. We hope that the two countries will give prompt support to ASEAN as a specific case of such cooperation. (Slightly abridged)

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