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Japan, Africa confirm importance of maritime rules, eyeing China

  • August 26, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 0:32 a.m.
  • English Press

MAPUTO — Japanese and African foreign ministers confirmed on Friday the importance of adhering to maritime rules based on international law, as Tokyo has been closely eyeing China’s recent rise across the globe.The ministers wrapped up a two-day meeting of a Tokyo-led African development conference in the capital of Mozambique, after adopting a chair’s statement specifying the confirmation. Japan was one of the chairs of the gathering, which also included the United Nations.

 

At the Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD in Maputo, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said maintaining maritime order based on the principles of international law such as freedom of navigation is necessary for world peace, stability and prosperity.

Japan will “work earnestly to strengthen the connectivity between Asia and Africa,” Kono said during the meeting, according to a Japanese official.

 

Kono also said he promised African nations that Tokyo will make efforts to boost economic growth in Africa, emphasizing that TICAD is playing a key role in regional developments.

 

In recent years, China has been seeking to expand infrastructure networks in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa to achieve its goal of connecting countries along the ancient Silk Road more closely, under the “One Belt and One Road” initiative.

 

Some analysts, however, are skeptical about Beijing’s transparency for its financing.

 

At the gathering, Japan and African nations also exchanged views on the fight against terrorism, and technology transfer.

 

On Thursday, a person from Western Sahara, who was not invited by Japan, tried to enter the meeting room and scuffled with a Moroccan official. No one was injured.

 

The Japanese government has not recognized Western Sahara as a country, as it has taken into account Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over the disputed territory.

 

The latest ministerial meeting came as preparation for the next TICAD summit to be held in Yokohama in 2019. The summit was launched by the Japanese government in 1993.

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