Japan to strengthen maritime, other ties with SE Asia — Kishida

JAPAN will strengthen its support and cooperation with Southeast (SE) Asian nations in six areas including transportation infrastructure and maritime patrols, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday.

He made the remarks in a speech to the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) in Jakarta, which is hosting a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this week. The move comes as China asserts itself in the region’s disputed waters.

“We will develop a wide range of cooperation initiatives in the political, security, economic, cultural and social areas,” Mr. Kishida said.

Japan will offer training for 5,000 people over the next three years in the six areas, which also include cooperation on cyberspace, Mr. Kishida said. Transportation infrastructure projects include building seaports, roads, railways and airports.

Japan will also help enhance maritime law enforcement capabilities by training personnel at coast guard agencies and maritime police, as well as providing patrol vessels, Mr. Kishida said.

Following the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Kishida also said Japan would strengthen supply chains with the region to secure a stable distribution of goods and food security.

Tokyo is due to host a summit meeting with ASEAN leaders in December to celebrate 50 years of ties. — Reuters