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Editorial: Time to show the true value of the Japan-U.S. “unshakable alliance”

  • 2015-11-16 15:00:00
  • , Sankei
  • Translation

(Sankei: November 14, 2015 – p. 2)

 

 The Japan-U.S. joint statement issued in April declares that the two countries share an “unshakable cooperative alliance.” The true value of that alliance is now being put to the test.

 

 [This month] several summits will be held, including the G-20 and APEC meetings, and the focus will be on how well Japan and the U.S. are able to lead the discussions at these meetings so that Chinese control of the South China Sea is brought to an end.

 

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in the Philippines on Nov. 19.

 

 The two leaders should reconfirm that they do not to recognize the change in the status quo being forcibly imposed by China, and they should work together to call on other countries participating in the meetings to do the same.

 

 China’s unilateral construction of artificial islands and development of them into military installations flouts the “rule of law,” which is a universal value, and threatens sea lanes. This cannot be overlooked from the economic perspective of promoting free trade.

 

 The United States has initiated “freedom of navigation operations.” It is sailing destroyers within 12 nautical miles of the artificial islands, which China claims as its territorial waters, and is flying bombers over neighboring airspace.

 

 We would like to see Prime Minister Abe directly communicate his strong support of the U.S. operations to Mr. Obama and show the world the U.S.-Japan alliance’s resolute stance.

 

 This can be seen as a test of whether the Abe administration’s “proactive pacifism” and the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia” can be achieved.

 

 To achieve results, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the Philippines, Singapore, and other countries involved in sovereignty disputes, must raise “a unified voice.”

 

 China is already attempting to undermine this. It has dispatched Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Philippines, which is the chair of APEC, to ask that the South China Sea not be put on the summit agenda.

 

 The last of the foreign ministers meetings is the East Asia Summit, which will be held in Malaysia. Japan, the United States, China, and ASEAN members will all be present. It will be an important forum for dialogue on politics and security.

 

 From how many countries will Japan and the United States be able to gain statements that attach the same value to the freedom of the sea and the rule of law? Japan and the United States are being called on to demonstrate their diplomatic skill.

 

 It has been confirmed that a Chinese Navy intelligence ship engaged in “abnormal” activities by repeatedly cruising from east to west and vice versa on the open seas near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture on Nov. 12.

 

 This is not just about the South China Sea. We must not forget that Japan’s sovereignty still continues to be threatened by maritime intrusions by the Chinese.

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