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Oct 20, 2020 / 16:48

Japan strongly condemns all acts escalating tensions in South China Sea: PM Suga

Japan Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy and ASEAN's Outlook on the Indo-Pacific share much in common.

A lot of acts running against the rule of law are occurring in the South China Sea and Japan strongly protests all behavior that escalates tensions in this vital waterway, Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said in a policy speech in Vietnam on Monday.

 Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide speaks at a joint news briefing in Hanoi, October 19, 2020. Photo: MinhTuan

There are some moves in the South China Sea that run counter to the rule of law and the openness in the region, Mr. Suga said during a speech in a Hanoi university in his first overseas travel after taking office, without naming China.

“Japan is strongly opposed to any action that heightens tensions in the South China Sea,” the Japanese PM said.

“As always, Japan consistently advocates upholding the rule of law at sea and stresses the importance that all related nations strive to solve disputes with peaceful means based on international law, without using violence or threat to use violence,” Mr. Suga stressed.

He said that Japan Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy and ASEAN's Outlook on the Indo-Pacific share much in common. Therefore, Japan and ASEAN can together create a peaceful and prosperous future.

Mr. Suga said Japan is partnering with ASEAN to uphold the rule of law at sea. To materialize it, Japan is supplying patrol boats to Vietnam and the Philippines and training programs for people in Indonesia and Malaysia engaged in maritime security.

The Japanese PM stressed that Japan will promote economic cooperation with ASEAN countries, including help in building high-quality infrastructure, strengthening supply chains and creating international rules for digitalization.

In a joint press briefing on Monday morning after holding talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Mr. Suga said “Japan is an Indo-Pacific nation and will continue contributing to peace and prosperity in the region.”

“I have chosen Vietnam because Vietnam is the most suitable place for me to send this message for the first time to the world,” the Japanese PM stressed.

The two sides also reached an agreement on transfer of military equipment and technologies, but details were not revealed. “I believe that defense and security cooperation between the two countries will continue to move forward,” Mr. Suga noted.