News / Asia

Japan Courts Southeast Asia Amid Mutual Tensions With China

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at his official residence after summit meetings with 10 Southeast Asian countries, in Tokyo, Dec. 14, 2013.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference at his official residence after summit meetings with 10 Southeast Asian countries, in Tokyo, Dec. 14, 2013.
Daniel Schearf
Japan is looking to deepen political, economic and defense ties with Southeast Asia amid mutual tensions with China over disputed territories. Those tensions were a focal point of discussions at a regional summit in Tokyo that ended Sunday. For Southeast Asian nations with close ties to Beijing, the talks also spotlighted the difficult balancing act in which its leaders must engage.
 
Leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan met in Tokyo recently and agreed on the importance of freedom of navigation in the region's international skies and waters.
 
The summit statement came just weeks after China announced a controversial expansion to its Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea.
 
According to China, any aircraft wanting to enter China's expanded ADIZ in the East China Sea is required to first notify Chinese authorities. However, the zone covers territory that is also claimed by Japan and South Korea. The move by Beijing sparked objections from Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington that Beijing is trying to change the status quo.
 
At a press conference following the Japan-ASEAN meetings, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on China to rescind the expansion.
 
Abe called for the withdrawal of all measures that violate the general principles of freedom of navigation, as understood in international law. He added that Japan has no intention of changing the government's policy to advise Japanese civilian airline companies to continue their normal operations.
 
The Japanese-administered Senkaku islands are known as the Diaoyu islands in China. Beijing sends frequent patrols of coast guard boats and military jets near the area. Chinese officials assert the islands are Beijing's and routinely denounce Japanese criticisms as unfounded.
 
The standoff over the islands in the East China Sea has echoes in the South China Sea. There, China claims most of the territory, overlapping with claims held by ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
 
China's ambassador to Manila said Beijing has the right to announce a similar air defense identification zone in the South China Sea.
 
Political analysts say China's aggressive stance on the disputed territory has made it lose diplomatic ground in Southeast Asia that Japan is working to gain.
 
At the summit, Japan pledged $19 billion in aid and loans to the ASEAN region and to deepen defense cooperation.
 
Abe offered the Philippines aid to help the recovery efforts after Typhoon Haiyan, along with coast guard vessels. He also offered patrol boats to Vietnam.
 
In a further sign of the importance Japan places on cultivating ties with Southeast Asia, while he has yet to call on Beijing, Abe has visited all ten ASEAN nations.
 
Nonetheless, as with Japan, China is ASEAN's number one trading partner and some members remain much closer to Beijing than Tokyo.
 
Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Japan's Temple University, thinks ASEAN is seeking Japan to act as a counterweight to China in the region.
 
“When Abe toured the region he was promoting something called the 'Arc of Freedom and Prosperity,' based on common values. And, this concept was clearly aimed at containing China. And, back in 2007 the reception was quite lukewarm. Now I think that China has... [acted] like the plausible bogeyman. And, so I think that the reception is a lot warmer now and I think the ASEAN countries are in a hedging mood,” said Kingston.
 
Underlining the potential for conflict with China, the U.S. Navy said on Saturday that one of its guided missile cruisers was forced to change course after a Chinese warship stopped in its path last week in the South China Sea.
 
Pentagon officials say the Navy vessel USS Cowpens was in international waters, observing China's new Liaoning aircraft carrier. They say a smaller Chinese ship then moved in front of the U.S. vessel, forcing it to come to a full halt.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Phone, Internet Surveillance

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid