Kishida lauds efforts on code of conduct for South China Sea

JIJI, Kyodo

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has praised the efforts of relevant countries to establish a legally binding code of conduct to address maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

Kishida was attending a meeting Sunday with his counterparts of the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei.

Foreign ministers from ASEAN and China agreed the same day to start official consultations on a binding code of conduct aimed at resolving disputes in the South China Sea, including those pitting China against some ASEAN countries such as the Philippines.

Earlier in the day, Kishida attended a foreign ministers’ meeting of ASEAN and three dialogue partners — Japan, China and South Korea. It was the first foreign ministerial meeting since the three countries each launched new governments.

At the meeting, Kishida sought support for Japan’s position that North Korea needs to take concrete action first in order to achieve a comprehensive resolution of the reclusive country’s nuclear and missile development and the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents decades ago.

Kishida also said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is determined to bring about a full solution to the abduction issue under his government.

But Kishida had little personal contacts with his counterparts from South Korea and China. He only chatted briefly with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se during a photo session at the start of the ASEAN-plus-three meeting. Kishida and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi did not speak at the session.

Japan, East Timor agree on infrastructure development


The foreign ministers of Japan and East Timor agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in developing basic infrastructure in the violence-wracked Southeast Asian nation, during talks Sunday on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related meetings in Brunei, the Foreign Ministry said.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and East Timor Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres also agreed to make preparations for President Taur Matan Ruak to visit Japan by next March, according to the ministry.

After gaining independence in 2002, East Timor sought international assistance as it faced a full-scale collapse of civil order in 2006. The nation occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor, whose western half is part of Indonesia.

During their meeting, Kishida praised the progress East Timor has made in building the nation and said Japan will continue to provide economic support and help develop human resources by inviting youths to Japan.

While calling for more private-sector investment, Guterres expressed appreciation for Japan’s assistance in the fields of infrastructure development and defense, according to the ministry. East Timor has also received help from the United Nations to ensure peace and stability.

East Timor is striving to become a member of the ASEAN framework, a bid that Kishida said Japan supports.