Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to promote security cooperation with Australia and India, based on the strength of the Japan-US alliance, in a bid to counter China‘s efforts to extend its influence.
Abe also believes strengthening ties with Russia and other Asian nations will help rebuild relations with China.
“The Japan-US alliance is the central pillar [of Japan’s foreign policy],” Abe added in an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.
Commenting on Japan-China relations, he said, “I think new developments will occur in our relationship [with China] by building a trust-based partnership with countries that share the same values, as well as strategically important nations such as Vietnam.”
By boosting partnerships with the nations surrounding China, Abe aims to urge Beijing to improve its relations with Japan.
“We also can pursue further security cooperation [with the United States] to develop a trilateral partnership between Japan, India and the United States. [Cooperation] between Japan, Australia and the United States will also contribute to regional stability. Additionally, we have a de facto promise of cooperation with Indonesia,” he said. “Restoring the balance of power in the region is important.”
The central idea of value diplomacy
In terms of foreign policy, Abe aims to pursue an updated version of “value diplomacy,” a principle he developed during his first term as prime minister from September 2006 to September 2007. The policy has been changed slightly to reflect the current increasingly severe security environment.
The central idea of value diplomacy is to make a priority of building relationships with nations that share the same basic values in terms of democracy and a market economy.
“Freedom, democracy and fundamental human rights: We will deepen ties with nations that share and uphold these values. There has been no change in the philosophy,” Abe said.
He expressed concern about North Korean issues and China’s increasingly aggressive actions surrounding the Senkaku Islands. “Very tense situations are present in Asia. For example, the North Korean missile launch and China’s actions on the seas,” he said. “We should map out a strategy by not only considering bilateral relationships but also the entire globe.”
The prime minister also mentioned the northern territory dispute. “Russia is part of Europe and also part of Asia. Our generation is obliged to try to solve the territorial problem and conclude a peace treaty [with Russia],” he said.
TPP to be discussed at the summit
Meanwhile, Abe expressed his intention to discuss with US President Barack Obama whether Japan should join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations at the Japan-US summit meeting to be held as early as January.
“I’d like to have a discussion with President Obama in a manner suitable for close allies. What matters most on the TPP issue is whether we can protect national interests. Results are what matter,” he said.
Abe also emphasised in the interview his desire to review the government’s interpretation of the Constitution regarding the nation’s right to collective self-defence.
“Having the option to exercise [the right] will contribute to regional stability, which will lead to a more balanced relationship within the Japan-US alliance,” he said.
Main points of PM’s remarks
— Japan-US-India and Japan-US-Australia security cooperation should be strengthened to restore the balance of power in Asia.
— Fortifying ties with nations that share the same values will lead to new developments in Japan’s relationship with China.
— The present generation must try to settle the northern territories issue.
— By having the option to exercise the right to collective self-defence, Japan could contribute to regional stability.
— Discussion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement should be arranged by US President Barack Obama in a manner suitable for close allies.
- Japan eyes security ties with Australia (news.com.au)
- Manmohan lauds Japan PM, hopes for stronger ties (vancouverdesi.com)
- Japan’s Abe to send envoy to China to mend ties: Nikkei (chinadailymail.com)