14 September 2018
Japan and the United States have articulated their own vision for the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIPS), but Japanese panellists told a policy forum on Thursday (Sept 13) that Japan’s strategy was not meant to be exclusive.
Rather, it is a concept that all like-minded countries – including China – are more than welcome to join.
Japan has of late been cautious about positioning the strategy as a means of containing China – unlike the US, which has been more overt in its intentions. This comes as their frosty ties are thawing with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set to make a landmark visit to Beijing next month for a summit with President Xi Jinping.
Asean has served as the theatre for Sino-Japanese rivalry in recent years, especially amid frosty ties between the two countries, but Asean could yet benefit from the warming outlook between the neighbours.
“Asean countries are saying, ‘I have two very rich godfathers, how can I ask them to come together to give them the respective presents’,” veteran Singaporean diplomat Ong Keng Yong quipped at the forum.
“This takes time, because it requires matching of different competing interests, but we will try,” he said.
“The good thing is with (international finance institutions such as) the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, we can get together on their platform and can find something together.”
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 14/09/2018