Abe voices concern about S. China Sea buildup


SINGAPORE (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday expressed his deep concern about the continuing militarization of the South China Sea, criticizing China without naming it.

In a speech at the East Asia Summit in Singapore, Abe said he is deeply concerned about continuing moves against the principle of nonmilitarization that could threaten the interests of related countries.

He called for support for the free and open Indo-Pacific vision, which Tokyo and Washington are jointly promoting. Free and open seas based on the rule of law are the foundations of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.

Meanwhile, Abe mentioned a Japan-China accord reached during his visit to China last month to strengthen bilateral cooperation, and underscored the significance of what he described as constructive talks with Beijing.

He also expressed strong hopes for efforts by China and Southeast Asian countries to draw up a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Over North Korea, Abe highlighted the need to fully implement existing U.N. Security Council resolutions toward the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the country, while seeking cooperation to resolve the issue of Japanese abductees there promptly.

Amid protectionist moves by the United States, the prime minister emphasized the need to promote free trade by reforming the World Trade Organization, expanding the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bloc and concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership deal promptly.