Japan Voices Concern over Militarization of South China Sea (News)
Manila, Aug. 6 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Foreign Minister Kōno Tarō expressed deep concerns on Sunday over China's island-building and militarization in the South China Sea.
Japan will continue to press for the demilitarization of the sea, Kōno said at a meeting with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila.
Kōno expressed hopes that China and ASEAN will draw up a binding and effective code of conduct in the sea at an early date after the two sides adopted the framework of the code earlier on Sunday.
Japan has been calling on parties concerned to faithfully follow the July 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, that rejected China's claims in its territorial dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea.
Within ASEAN, however, there is a view sympathetic to China, which has ignored the ruling. Under the circumstances, Kōno called for the ASEAN members' cooperation for a peaceful solution to the South China Sea issues, by explaining Japan's position at Sunday's meeting, sources with access to the talks said.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]