Abe to raise South China Sea issues at G-20, other global meetings

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to raise issues concerning the South China Sea at international meetings in coming weeks involving the Group of 20 major countries, and Southeast Asian nations and their dialogue partners.

“The rule of law should be carried out to preserve the open, free and peaceful sea,” Abe said during a speech in Tokyo, underlining the importance of international cooperation to ensure that the rule of law prevails in maritime affairs.

Abe’s remarks come amid heightened tension in the South China Sea following the passage late last month of a U.S. guided-missile destroyer within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island China has built in the disputed Spratly Islands. That irked Beijing, which has expressed “resolute opposition” to moves that threaten Chinese sovereignty.

“I would like to reaffirm the principle (of the rule of law) with concerned parties (and neighboring countries)…at the G-20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (meeting) and East Asia Summit,” Abe said.

He was referring to the G-20 summit in Turkey, APEC forum in the Philippines, and the East Asia Summit in Malaysia where the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will meet with the group’ dialogue partners.

China is part of the G-20 which also groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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