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Japan not competing with China for regional influence

/ 11:04 PM November 13, 2017
Shinzo Abe - Asean-Japan Summit - 13 Nov 2017Shinzo Abe - Asean-Japan Summit - 13 Nov 2017

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the Asean-Japan Summit on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (Photo from an RTVM video)

Japan is not competing with China in building influence and relations in the region, Press Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan Norio Maruyama said on Monday.

In a press briefing on the sidelines of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Manila, Maruyama said Japan was “not competing at all with any country” in terms of economic, political and military influence in the surrounding region.

Maruyama noted, however, that Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China President Xi Jinping recently discussed the maritime dispute concerning the East China Sea.

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“We agreed to make the East China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation and agreed to communicate and cooperate,” he said.

When asked about what Japan could offer to ease the tension among the claimants of the sea, Maruyama said they were “closely monitoring the situation.”

“This issue is also an issue of rule of law. That’s why we welcome the progress made during the Asean and China concerning the COC [Code of Conduct],” he added, as he underscored the need for dialogues to be “based on the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, Abe, during his opening speech at the 20th Asean-Japan Summit on Monday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City, said Japan would continue to strongly push forward Asean.

“Japan will strongly push forward Asean by exercising leadership so that integration goes even further as a community,” Abe said.

“Furthermore, we will cooperate in creating a resilient society, where all peoples in the region an exhibit in freedom their potential to the fore, enjoy peace and prosperity based on the rule of law, and be able to actually feel the quality of life without inequalities,” he added. /atm

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TAGS: 31st ASEAN summit, ASEAN, ASEAN 2017, Maritime Dispute, Shinzo Abe, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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