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Global Issue 15

Global Insight G20 Abe pictured with US Ambassador to Japan John V. Roos. Japan is keen to maintain a close relationship with the USA had indicated the possibility of deposits of petroleum resources in the waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands. When I took office as Prime Minister six years ago, I visited China immediately after assuming the post and restored Japan- China relations, which at the time had become strained. At that time, I proposed that even if individual issues arose in Japan-China relations, it would be essential for us to control them so that they do not affect our overall relationship. I proposed this idea as a “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests”, and reached agreement with the Chinese side on this approach. A strong Japan will work for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world – Africa is a frontier of hope Now, I am calling on the Chinese side to return to the origin of this “mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests”. It is wrong to close all doors for dialogue just because some issue has arisen. On the contrary, precisely because some issues exist, it is important for us to meet face to face, including at the leaders’ level, and discuss various matters directly. Taking this perspective, I have been calling on the Chinese side to engage in dialogue. My door for dialogue is always open. In the half year since I became Prime Minister again, I have visited a number of countries, including the United States, Asian countries such as ASEAN members, Russia and countries in the Middle East as well as in Europe. What’s more, at TICAD V, an international conference on African development, I held bilateral summit meetings with a large number of African heads of state and government. All of them expressed their appreciation of the approach that Japan has taken in this regard. The improvement in relations with your ASEAN neighbours through determined economic initiatives and diplomatic partnerships – such as with Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam – is seen as an attempt to act as a counterweight to China’s dominance in the region. The huge infusion of aid to Africa is perceived as doing the same on the continent where China has secured a massive foothold over more than 20 years. Is this a return to the head-tohead Pacific rivalry of two decades ago? What are your aims for these parallel policies? Japan’s efforts to improve our relationship with our ASEAN neighbours and our assistance to African nations are not intended to keep any particular country in check. Over a great many years, Japan has been building up friendly and co-operative relations with the members of ASEAN across an entire spectrum of areas, encompassing political, economic, and cultural fields as well as people-to-people exchanges. Also, Japan has been proactively providing assistance toward the establishment of an ASEAN Community through its co-operation aimed at strengthening intra-ASEAN connectivity, redressing intra-ASEAN disparities, and enhancing disaster management and other areas. 34 l www.global -br ief ing.org thi rd quar ter 2013 global 


Global Issue 15
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