01 June 2014
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s expressed intention to build closer security ties with Asean may displease China, but Beijing will not overly worry given its strong ties with the South-east Asian grouping.
As for Asean, at least one member has openly welcomed Japan’s move. Most, however, have kept silent – indicating that states without any territorial dispute with China are treating it with caution.
Mr Abe, in his keynote speech on Friday at the Shangri-La Dialogue, said Japan “will offer its utmost support for the efforts of the countries of Asean as they work to ensure the security of the seas and the skies, and thoroughly maintain freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight”.
… More broadly, said Associate Professor Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Mr Abe is hoping to build a “loose regional coalition against China so as to put pressure on China and try to make China less assertive” in its maritime and territorial disputes with states in the region.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Print
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